Former Liverpool defender turned television pundit Mark Lawrenson has backed the Reds to secure a win against Aston Villa on Boxing Day.
Premier League football returns on Monday, December 26, after a six-week hiatus due to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Unai Emery's Aston Villa will take on Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool at Villa Park in a heavyweight Boxing Day clash.
Lawrenson has predicted a 2-0 win for the Reds due to a number of factors. The five-time Football League First Division winner has claimed that Liverpool will be in good shape, having trained in Dubai during the break.
The former Republic of Ireland defender has also claimed that Emiliano Martinez's absence could be a negative factor for the Villans. The goalkeeper played every minute of Argentina's victorious FIFA World Cup campaign, including two penalty shootouts. Lawrenson told Paddy Power:
"Liverpool have been in Dubai and they will have had a good build up."
"All the World Cup boys will be fit and ready to go whereas I don’t know if Emi Martinez will play for Villa. I’m going to go 2-0 to Liverpool."
Unai Emery has been in charge of Aston Villa for only three games now, including two Premier League games. Emery has led the Villans to wins in both Premier League games against Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion, respectively.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have struggled for any kind of consistency this season but have won two back-to-back Premier League games ahead of the World Cup break.
The Reds returned to action against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup on Thursday, December 22, with a 3-2 loss.
The Merseyside giants find themselves sixth in the table with just 22 points in 14 games and trail league leaders Arsenal by 15 points.
Aston Villa are 12th in the table but are just four points behind the Merseyside giants although have played one more fixture.
Liverpool will be without several of their star players against Aston Villa
Liverpool have struggled heavily with injury problems this season and could be without several top players against Aston Villa.
The Reds will be without Ibrahima Konate, who will not return to training until December 27 but Alisson and Virgil van Dijk should be available.
James Milner and Roberto Firmino will miss the next couple of matches with hamstring and calf problems respectively.
The Merseyside giants already have Curtis Jones, Arthur Melo, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota on the treatment table.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is also expected to return to the starting XI after missing the Manchester City clash with illness.