O’Neill: Reds can stage major revival
Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill believes Liverpool are capable of
rescuing a Champions League spot via a long unbeaten Premier League
O’Neill recalls how his side were in pole position to claim a
top-four place last season before Arsenal hit top form in the final
third of the campaign to overhaul them.
Now a similar challenge is confronting the Reds, who visit
fourth-placed Villa on Tuesday night, after a below-par opening
half of the season and O’Neill believes they are capable of the
same sort of feat.
O’Neill, whose side won 3-1 at Anfield in August, said:
“Liverpool have lost a few games more than they would have thought.
Last season they were terrific.
“They went through the whole season and lost two games. After
three games of this season, they had lost two games, but they are
getting a bit of momentum again.
“It was a big win for them at Anfield against Wolves at the
weekend. We’ve got to be right ourselves, but they are still in
“I heard Arsenal were supposed to be imploding last season,
just about February time, when I think they were in the middle of a
22-game unbeaten run!
“They finished the season very, very strongly and Liverpool
are capable of doing the same thing. They are capable because it’s
Liverpool Football Club.
“Look at Arsenal now. Four weeks ago they were being written
off for the title and now they are right bang in there. That’s what
can happen with the top clubs.”
O’Neill is unconcerned at what reaction there will be to
Villa’s 3-0 defeat against Arsene Wenger’s side and does not
believe his players will suffer any hangover to that setback for
when they tackle Liverpool.
He said: “I’m not too bothered about who says what. I didn’t
get too carried away when we went to Old Trafford a couple of weeks
ago and won there.
“It was three points, it was a boost to confidence and it was
terrific. It changed a desperately poor record for us there as
well, our first win there for 26 years.
“But equally any side can go to Arsenal and get beaten, so I
wouldn’t start to think the result was a major shock all over
“You can get beaten, but what we have to do is fight back
against Liverpool and try to win.”
Villa will be without suspended England winger Ashley Young
against the Reds. Young has started all 19 of Villa’s league games
to date this season but will have to serve a one game ban for
collecting his fifth yellow card of the campaign at the Emirates
O’Neill had hinted going into the Christmas period that he
may make changes, particularly with Liverpool having an extra 24
hours to recover from their clash against Wolves.
Striker John Carew, defenders Habib Beye and James Collins
plus midfielders Nigel Reo-Coker, Steve Sidwell and Fabian Delph
will come into the equation for a possible start.