Aston Villa vs Liverpool team news: Steven Gerrard and Mario Balotelli absent for Reds as Villa welcome back Fabian Delph

Delph is a reported transfer target for Liverpool and will get a chance to show them first-hand what he's capable of

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The Independent Football

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has named a side for the Premier League clash against Aston Villa that is without Steven Gerrard and Mario Balotelli after the pair suffered injury and illness respectively.

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Gerrard picked up a tight hamstring that forced him off at half-time in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Sunderland, and was seen training at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground this morning alongside Glen Johnson, with Rodgers reluctant to risk him ahead of Tuesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea.

 

With Balotelli ruled out before kick-off with illness, Fabio Borini is given another chance to impress in attack, Rodgers is only forced to make one change as he recalls Raheem Sterling to replace Gerrard with the England international back from a mid-season holiday in Jamaica, which was sanctioned by the club.

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Fabian Borini starts for Liverpool

They face a Villa side that has only won one of their last eight, and manager Paul Lambert makes two changes with defender Ciaran Clark suspended following his dismissal in last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Leicester.

Nathan Baker comes into the back-four, while Joe Cole drops out of the matchday squad with Fabian Delph available again. New signing Carles Gil is named on the bench after completing his £3.25m move from Valencia during the week, while Liverpool named Jordan Ibe on the bench having recalled him from a loan spell with Derby.

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Fabian Delph is a reported transfer target for Liverpool

Line-ups:

Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Okore, Baker, Cissokho, Sanchez, Westwood, Delph, Cleverley, Agbonlahor, Benteke

Subs: Given, Bacuna, Weimann, Richardson, Gil, N’Zogbia, Lowton

Liverpool: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Sakho, Markovic, Moreno, Lucas, Henderson, Sterling, Coutinho, Borini

Subs: Ward, Enrique, Lambert, Manquillo, Lallana, Ibe, Williams

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