Aston Villa vs Liverpool is a fixture with a resurgent air to it. 

Once one of the football calendar's headline fixtures, both sides had fallen away somewhat in recent seasons - Villa falling out of the Premier League while the Reds embarked on a long run barren of significant silverware. 

Heading into Saturday, however, the home side are back in the big time while the visitors lead the way at the head of the division - so we're getting ready to roll back the years. 

Aston Villa v Liverpool - Premier League

While the prospect of taking on the European champions will be an enticing one for Dean Smith's side, but he'll know his men have their work cut out for them. 

And that's an assertion backed up by the stats, that suggest it could be a long afternoon for the home side.

One for the Road

Roberto Firmino

​Liverpool are famed for their stellar record at Anfield, and understandably so, but it's on the road this season that they have been most impressive - defensively, at least. 

Both of their ​Premier League clean sheets this season have come away from home (0-3 vs Burnley, 0-1 vs Sheffield United) while the wider context suggests they don't concede much away from Anfield in general .

They haven't conceded more than twice as visitors in their last 33 away league matches - so Villa will know that a couple of Liverpool goals is a near-impossible mountain to climb. 

Happy Hunting Grounds

Aston Villa v Liverpool - Premier League

Their quality away from home is particularly apparent at Villa Park, it seems. They have lost just one of their last 18 games away at ​Villa, winning 12 of those, and winning the last five by a score of 13-1. Given the last time they faced off was in February 2016, it seems it's not just Jurgen Klopp that has them firing on the road. 

Furthermore, they have beaten their hosts at Villa Park 13 times -  more often than they've beaten any other side away from home in the competition. Given how much they've improved since the sides last faced, warning bells must be going off in the West Midlands at present. 

Warm Welcome

Divock Origi

Unfortunately for Villa, they fall into another demographic that this Liverpool team really enjoy playing against - newly promoted teams. 

The Reds have won their last 13 Premier League games against promoted sides, with only Chelsea (27, 2002-2006), ​Manchester United (17, 2006-2009) and Tottenham (16, 2015-2018) boasting longer such runs in the competition.

Norwich and Sheffield United have already fallen victim to that record this season, and the Reds will be keen to make it 14 at the expense of Villa. 

The Run Goes On (And On, And On)

Mohamed Salah,Jordan Henderson,Roberto Firmino,Trent Alexander-Arnold

For those losing count, Liverpool will make it 28 Premier League games unbeaten if they can avoid an upset in the Midlands, their last defeat coming at the Etihad back in January.

As it stands, they are amidst their second-longest unbeaten run in top-flight history, and can surpass their 1987-88 record of 31 if they avoid defeat in their next five - starting at Villa Park. 

Bad Omen

James Milner,Idrissa Gueye

Switching focus to the home side for a second, to say they have typically struggled against Liverpool in the past is understating it somewhat. In fact, they have won just four of the last 29 Premier League meetings between the sides, with three of those wins coming at Anfield. 

To make things even more grim, they have won four of 38 against sides starting the day on top of the league, losing 26 of those - their last win against a league leader coming against Chelsea in March 2014. Look away Liverpool fans, because Chelsea did not win the league that season. 

Klopp vs England

Roy Hodgson,Jurgen Klopp

Jürgen Klopp has taken English football by storm since arriving at Anfield back in 2016, his brand of high-octane, breakneck football so often proving bewildering to managers in the Premier League. 

No demographic of bosses has struggled against the German quite like English managers have, however. Since losing against Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace in April 2017, Liverpool manager Klopp is unbeaten in his last 24 Premier League meetings with English managers (W20 D4), winning each of the last 14 in a row.

So, Dean Smith - what have you got? 

Milly Mania

Sadio Mane,James Milner

James Milner might be well into his 30s now, but he only seems to be getting better with time - and that doesn't bode well for his former side ahead of his return to Villa Park.

He tends to do well against his former employers, and has been directly involved in four goals in his last four league games against Villa. His last two meetings with Villa in a Liverpool shirt have seen him score in each, and though he's not likely to start this one, should he emerge from the bench, the stats suggest a third in three is not unlikely. 

Mo's Woes

Mohamed Salah,Luke Shaw

To end things on a mildly positive note from a Villa perspective, Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah might be enjoying another great season with eight goals in 14 appearances - but away from home, he hasn't quite been at his best. 

He's on five in the league, but each one has come at Anfield – his last Premier League away goal coming at Newcastle in May.

Small mercies, but Villa will have to take all they can get if they are to stun the title favourites.

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