Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers handed summer signing Lazar Markovic his debut after naming the Serbian in the side to face Aston Villa, but there was no room for the in-form Raheem Sterling as the England midfielder dropped to the bench with Adam Lallana making his debut.
Markovic was named alongside Philippe Coutinho as the pair come in for Sterling and the injured Daniel Sturridge, who looks set to be out for at least three weeks after picking up a thigh strain while on England duty.
Lallana returns from a knee injury that has hampered his start to life at Anfield and replaces Joe Allen, who has been ruled out with an injury of his own, while Emre Can is set to miss six weeks after picking up a knock on international duty with Germany’s Under-21’s.
Mario Balotelli continues to lead the Reds’ attack after making his debut in the 3-0 win over Tottenham a fortnight ago, and he’ll be hoping to notch his first goal for the club since joining from AC Milan.
Aston Villa head into the match without influential defender Ron Vlaar, so Nathan Baker is handed a start alongside former Liverpool left-back Ally Cissokho – who spent last season on loan from Valencia at the Reds.
In Vlaar’s absence, striker Gabriel Agbonlahor captains the side, while new England cap Fabian Delph starts alongside Villa’s newest recruit Tom Cleverley as he joined the club on a season-long loan from Manchester United.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Manquillo, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno, Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho, Markovic, Lallana, Balotelli.
Subs: Brad Jones, Jose Enrique, Toure, Lambert, Lucas, Borini, Sterling.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Baker, Senderos, Cissokho, Westwood, Delph, Cleverley, Richardson, Agbonlahor, Weimann.
Subs: Okore, Bacuna, Bent, Sanchez, N'Zogbia, Given, Grealish.Reuse content