Can it be a happy Christmas for Liverpool?

They started the weekend in sixth place, three points behind Arsenal. And that gap could be closed later on today should they get the right result at Aston Villa, then Manchester City beat the Gunners. But injury has ended Lucas Leiva’s season prematurely and in Liverpool’s first game without him a couple of weeks ago, Kenny Dalglish’s side suffered their third defeat of the campaign.

Defence is where the Reds have been strongest this season, only conceding 13 times. Meanwhile, Villa who started the weekend seven points outside the top six, won away from home for the first time last weekend, following two defeats (at Man City and Spurs) in seven previous attempts on their travels. So I’m going to predict a low-scoring draw at Villa Park, which I’m quite sure Alex McLeish would happily settle for.

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