Aston Villa’s scary XI with Luis Suarez as striker ‘focused’ on Steven Gerrard reunion

Aston Villa v Manchester United: Match in pictures

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Luis Suarez is reportedly ‘focused’ on a reunion with his old team-mates Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho at Aston Villa but any move will have to wait until the summer. That’s when the Uruguayan’s contract with Atletico Madrid comes to an end and Diego Simeone’s side are expected to go in a different direction seeing as the 34-year-old’s goals have seemingly dried up.

Suarez hit 21 in 32 outings last season after being cast aside by Barcelona to help fire Atletico to the title.

His goals were worth a whopping 21 points in La Liga and Villa boss Gerrard is said to be keen on trying to lure Suarez to the Midlands for one last hurrah in the Premier League.

The pair came close to helping Liverpool clinch their first-ever Premier League title back in 2013/14 under Brendan Rodgers and their bond remains strong.

And reports from Spain claim Suarez has already rejected offers from Palmeiras, Corinthians and Atletico Mineiro in Brazil as part of his plan to join Villa this summer.

Amid the speculation, Express Sport has taken a look at how Villa could line up next season if Suarez does indeed put pen to paper at Villa Park.

Emiliano Martinez will without doubt keep his place between the posts, he has been largely excellent since arriving from Arsenal despite his questionable fumble against Manchester United last weekend.

At the back, Matty Cash will start at right-back again with new signing Lucas Digne at left-back.

There could be changes at centre-back with a new defender on the agenda but for now, Ezri Konsa partners Tyrone Mings.

In midfield, competition for places remains fierce at the club but Douglas Luiz will sit and protect.

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Beyond that, John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey are expected to play as two No 8s in Gerrard’s 4-3-3 system.

But it’s the front three where things really get interesting…

Philippe Coutinho may only be on loan for now but his deal at Barcelona is up at the end of the season.

Therefore, if he continues to impress under Gerrard, Villa are expected to offer him a permanent contract.

Coutinho is expected to operate from the left, just as he did at Liverpool, cutting inside and shooting with his right foot.

He barely needed any time to settle into his new surroundings, assisting and scoring from the bench on his debut.

It’s the kind of form that is likely to earn him a permanent switch and potentially a place alongside Suarez in attack.

The arrival of the former Liverpool attacking duo could have damaging implications for the likes of Danny Ings, Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailey though.

Villa are still lacking a right-winger but Ollie Watkins has shown he is capable of playing anywhere across the frontline in recent times.


The England international could slot in on the right side of attack or failing that, Gerrard could shift to a 4-3-1-2 system.

Leon Bailey has also failed to get up to speed after struggling with injuries since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer.

The Jamaican could yet force his way into reckoning but his potential absence from the starting XI highlights the immense strength in depth Gerrard is slowly building at Villa Park.

Having the likes of Buendia, Ings, Morgan Sanson, Ashley Young, Matt Targett and Marvelous Nakamba could prove key if Villa have aspirations of making Europe.

Potential Aston Villa XI (4-3-3): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne; Luiz, Ramsey, McGinn; Watkins, Coutinho, Suarez.

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