Gerrard Dream Still Alive

Steven Gerrard 2015. Image courtesy of eurosports.com
Steven Gerrard will return for Liverpool this weekend. Image courtesy of eurosports.com

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Aston Villa v Liverpool


Wembley Stadium, London

Monday April 20 – 12:00am (AEST)

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Steven Gerrard’s dream to end his Liverpool career with silverware remains alive, but his side must beat Aston Villa to book a spot in the FA Cup final.

With the final of the tournament set to be played on the Liverpool Captain’s 35th birthday, FA Cup glory in his final match for the club would be the ultimate gift. No one in English football would deserve that kind of send-off more than Gerrard, who has racked up 499 club appearances during his 17-year stint at the Reds. It could all come undone this weekend against Villa though, as it nearly did against Blackburn in the quarter-finals. After Rovers forced a replay following a 0-0 stalemate at Anfield, Liverpool required a late goal from midfielder Philippe Coutinho to seal a spot in the semis with a 1-0 win. Gerrard is expected to return into the starting side after missing his side’s recent three matches through suspension.

Aston Villa may be the lowest scoring side in the EPL, but their form in front of goal in the FA Cup has been admirable. They have, however, had the benefit of playing at Villa Park in all four qualifying fixtures in the tournament, something they won’t have the luxury of come Monday morning. Both semi-finals will be played at Wembley Stadium in London, a venue the West Midlands club haven’t played at since 2011. After a slow start to the season, key striker Christian Benteke has recaptured the form that saw him nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 2013. The Belgian has netted eight goals in Villa’s past six league matches, and he could be the man that crushes Steven Gerrard’s dream.  

Liverpool are expected to comfortably progress, and they remain on the second line of betting in the futures market behind Arsenal. Aston Villa, however, are FA Cup specialists, winning the tournament on seven separate occasions – the same amount as the Reds.   

 

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