Tim Sherwood hopes to pile the pressure on Brendan Rodgers when he takes his Aston Villa side to face “wounded animal” Liverpool on Saturday.
Villa travel to Anfield on Saturday afternoon for a match that could be pivotal to Rodgers’ future at the club amid growing claims he could be facing the axe.
Rodgers insists he still has a strong relationship with the club’s owners FSG, but Sherwood has shrugged off fears it could be a tough time to face the Reds.
“The new lads are excited about the prospect of playing at Anfield,” Sherwood told a press conference ahead of the game. “They’ve seen so many great players come from there. I still enjoy going there. I always did as a player and now as a manager. When we cross that white line, we’ll be focused.
“Anytime is good to play Liverpool. It’s always good to go to Anfield. They haven’t got as many points as they would’ve liked. Neither have we. It’s not a good time to play us either.
“Obviously you’re worried about a wounded animal. A big football club not getting results. We’ll be ready.”
Sherwood says he emphasises with Rodgers’ current plight, adding: “I get on very well with Brendan. I have a lot of time for him. He’s probably paying the price for overachieving a couple of years ago. He lost two of his best players – Luis Suarez in particular. He’s rebuilding.”
One player who won’t be available to Liverpool is former Villa striker Christian Benteke. Sherwood says the loss of the Belgium striker epitomised a difficult summer for Villa as he bids to rebuild his own team.
“Christian Benteke is a top player. I expected the call to come in the summer. We’d have liked to have kept him.
“Christian’s gone, Fabian Delph’s gone, Tom Cleverley’s gone. They’re all established Premier League players. We will now develop what we have. We’re a work in progress and we’re happy with the squad.”
Sherwood insists he was relaxed about Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett’s post match comments on Tuesday saying he knew the Villa team.
Sherwood says its commonplace in football that everyone knows everyone else’s team. “It’s more common than people imagine, it’s not nice to be honest but it happens and we have to accept it. We will know Liverpool’s team before tomorrow.
“On the fitness front Adama Traore is back light training but the game may be too early for him. Idrissa Gana will be assessed today before the team travel north.”