Aston Villa boss Remi Garde has warned his squad they have “no chance” of beating Liverpool unless they raise their game.
Villa host the Reds on Sunday buoyed by last weekend’s 2-0 win over Norwich – just their third Barclays Premier League victory of the season.
They head into the weekend having lost only twice in their last seven matches in all competitions but still eight points from safety, and with Garde acknowledging improvements must be made against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
“If we are playing the same game against Liverpool (as against Norwich), we will have no chance to have points,” he said.
“Against Norwich we deserved the win but in the second half they created many opportunities and if we were unlucky we would have drawn the game.
“My job is to say ‘well done lads for the victory and three points but the football we played won’t be enough to take points from the Liverpool game’.
“When you get three points it’s very important. We don’t have to waste too much time or energy on winning and everything is okay.
“We won the Norwich game but not in the best way we could have done it. I was not completely happy the game we played.”
Jack Grealish, who has started just twice in Villa’s last 15 games, has been ruled out of Sunday’s match with an ankle injury.
Alan Hutton is available but Carlos Sanchez (hamstring), Libor Kozak (ankle), Adama Traore (foot) and Jordan Amavi (knee) are sidelined through injury and Jordan Ayew is suspended.
Garde added: “Rudy (Gestede) is still struggling with his hamstring. He’s not training. I’m not optimistic.
“Jack twisted his ankle in a training session. He won’t be available for this week but hopefully he will be back for the next game.”