Redemption, revenge and a return to form at home will be on the agenda for Liverpool when they welcome Aston Villa to Anfield on Saturday. The champions were on the end of a 7-2 humiliation in the reverse fixture at Villa Park in October - one of nine defeats they have suffered this season to leave them playing catch-up in the top-four race.
Liverpool were made to pay for some sloppy defending when going down 3-1 to Real in Spain on Tuesday night, with only Mohamed Salah’s consolation goal giving them hope of advancing. However, convincing victories over Wolves and Arsenal either side of the international break, plus other results going their way, have put the top four back within reach.
These sides have certainly been involved in some interesting encounters since Villa returned to the top flight. This term, the Reds were infamously thrashed 7-2 at Villa Park in October, but returned there in January for a 4-1 FA Cup triumph.
Villa head to Merseyside fresh from ending a four-game winless streak with a 3-1 comeback win over Fulham last time out. Dean Smith’s side are ninth in the table and could close the gap between themselves and their hosts to two points with a game in hand if they can win at Anfield for the first time since September 2014.
Jurgen Klopp's side are in a hugely tricky position for Saturday's encounter. He will surely want to be as fresh as possible to try and avenge this week's Champions League first leg deficit at Real Madrid, with the second leg upcoming on Wednesday. But he daren't risk losing more ground on a European spot.
Added to this of course, is Liverpool's motivation to gain revenge on their shocking 7-2 hammering in Birmingham in October which was perhaps the first glaringly obvious signs that they were heading for a car crash of a campaign in their attempt to retain their title.