Monday, August 24, 2009

Ayala to start against Villa

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has indicated that he may hand 18-year-old Daniel Ayala a spot in the starting line-up to face Aston Villa, should Martin Skrtel fail to recover in time.

The Spanish centre-half made his full debut in the 4-0 win over Stoke City, deputising for the injured duo of Skrtel (jaw) and Daniel Agger (back).

Benitez also said that the youngster would be preferred over the club's new signing, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, since the Greece international has not had enough time to settle down on Merseyside.

"Dani [Ayala] did very well against Stoke after a nervous start and it may be difficult to bring Kyrgiakos straight in," Rafa is quoted by ESPNsoccernet as saying.

The Spaniard then focussed on the task at hand, and hoped that the winning mentality would continue against Villa.

"Against Stoke the players wanted to prove they are good enough to win the title after that opening defeat at Spurs [Tottenham Hotspur]," he said.

"It was very important for them to win at home in midweek in front of their own fans, and they will feel the same on Monday against a very good Villa side.

"We scored four against Stoke, did not concede, and won well. But they know that there is still plenty of room for improvement.

"When you lose a game you are so determined to prove something in the next game. We have done that and aim to do the same again on Monday."

The gaffer signed off by warning his charges against complacency after their emphatic win over the Potters.

"Villa have ability and pace, it will be a tough game," he remarked. "They have lost Gareth Barry but they are still a very good team."

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