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Football | Barclays Premier League

Rodgers predicts a 'difficult' Villa



In-form Liverpool face a "difficult" match on Saturday against an Aston Villa side who have improved after a change in system, boss Brendan Rodgers said as he welcomes back top scorer Luis Suarez after a one-match ban.

Once mighty Liverpool lie 10th in the table but won their second game in a row in the Premier League for the first time since December 2011 when they beat West Ham United 3-2 last weekend without a recognised frontman.

Northern Irishman Rodgers is looking forward to taking on Aston Villa counterpart Paul Lambert, who was promoted to the top flight with Norwich City in 2011 along with Rodgers' then side Swansea City.

"He was at Norwich and we had some terrific battles over a couple of years, and we speak reasonably regularly. We shared the same upbringing - coming through the Championship (second tier) and then strides into the Premier League, where we both want to stay," Rodgers told www.liverpoolfc.com on Friday.

"It's going to be a difficult game. He and I like to have a work-rate and intensity in our teams so that the worst case scenario you get is effort and commitment if you're not quite at your best with the ball.

"They have changed their system over the last few games to 3-5-2 and that seems to have worked well for them. But we're at home and we've got possibilities now in our home games, we've got confidence. We know it will be tight but it's a game we look forward to and hopefully win."

Liverpool are four points off the Champions League places as Rodgers rebuilds in his first season in charge while Villa are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference after what has been a testing first few months in the job for Lambert.

The Birmingham-based club have an extensive injury list with striker Darren Bent being the most noticeable absentee.

Lambert is hoping to transfer their Capital One (League) Cup goal scoring form into top flight games after a 4-1 midweek quarterfinal win at Norwich.

"I don't prepare any differently for cup and league games. I don't change much on the philosophy which is about trying to win games. On Tuesday, it went our way. I thought we were excellent," Lambert told www.avfc.co.uk, adding that he is set to stick with his new formation.

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