Aston Villa welcome fellow mid-table outfit Crystal Palace to Villa Park for a Premier League game on Sunday afternoon.
Despite a spirited effort against his former employers in midweek, Liverpool ended the mini resurgence Steven Gerrard had overseen after consecutive victories as April bled into May.
Here’s the XI the Villa boss may deploy to return to winning ways.
Emiliano Martinez (GK) – Pepe Reina was the last keeper before Martinez to patrol Villa’s goal in a Premier League game at Villa Park. Incidentally, the Argentine was at the opposite end for that July meeting with Arsenal.
Matty Cash (RB) – As well as embracing the increased attacking impetus placed upon fullbacks in Gerrard’s system, Cash has conspired to block more passes than any other Premier League player this season (per FBref).
Ezri Konsa (CB) – An undisputed starter under Dean Smith, Konsa has recovered his spot in the backline after the latest instance of Gerrard leaving him out at the end of April.
Tyrone Mings (CB) – This season’s club captain received a first-half red card the last time Palace came to Villa Park but watched his side earn a 3-0 win in his absence.
Lucas Digne (LB) – In seven fewer hours of Premier League football, Digne has created as many chances as the player he effectively replaced, Matt Targett, in the January window.
John McGinn (CM) – Reviews of McGinn’s playing style never stray too far from the hard work he puts in but the Scotland international transfers this approach to his wardrobe, as he admits: “I come in dressed as a labourer.”
Tim Iroegbunam (CM) – Gerrard has used four different players at the base of midfield in Villa’s last four matches but may turn to the promising 18-year-old again as he eases him into the first-team setup.
Douglas Luiz (CM) – With Jacob Ramsey’s involvement still mired in doubt, Villa’s goalscorer against Liverpool in midweek may again trot out in a more advanced midfield role.
Philippe Coutinho (AM) – Gerrard’s former teammate may well celebrate his status as a permanent Aston Villa player with another start this weekend.
Danny Ings (ST) – The 29-year-old has scored five Premier League goals in eight appearances against Palace – a tally he can’t better against any other top-flight club.
Ollie Watkins (ST) – Villa’s leading scorer (for the second season running) has become the first Englishman to hit double figures for Premier League goals for the club since Gabby Agbonlahor in 2009.