Aston Villa U23 stars that could surprise Liverpool as FA Cup clash goes ahead

Aston Villa will be fielding a youth team for their FA Cup clash with Liverpool, following a coronavirus outbreak at their Bodymoor Heath training ground.

The game is still set to go ahead despite a large number of the senior Villa squad testing positive for the virus.

The first-team bubble, including manager Dean Smith, are set to stay away from the Cup clash with Mark Delaney leading the team.

The FA have ruled that clubs must field a team if they have 14 fit players to choose from, including those in their youth ranks.

And it gives Villa’s young stars a chance to impress and potentially stake a claim for a spot in Smith’s future plans.

Villa are likely to have 19-year-old Akos Onodi in goal with the Hungarian having been the U23's No. 1 this season.

Right-back Kaine Kesler appeared on Villa's first-team bench for the trip to Everton last season and is thought of highly, so expect him to feature.

Alongside Kesler in defence, we may see Dominic Reven and Mungo Bridge with Bridge having played against Arsenal in the behind-closed-doors friendly prior to this season.

  • Aston Villa face forfeiting Liverpool tie if more positive Covid cases come back

At left-back, Sebastian Reven, younger brother of Dominic, has been the go-to for the U23 this season, making ten appearances.

Villa could name three central midfielders with Carney Chukwuemeka regarded as one of the best 17-year-old's in England.

He could have Aaron Ramsey, younger sibling of first-team star Jacob, alongside him with Ramsey having been a part of England’s youth set-ups.

  • Aston Villa plan to play U23s vs Liverpool with FA hopeful Covid won't stop cup tie

Lamare Bogarde, nephew of former Chelsea defender Winston Bogarde, could also feature having been signed from Feyenoord last summer.

Villa’s wide threats against Liverpool could come from Tyreik Wright, who has five goals from nine caps for the Republic of Ireland's U19s.

On the left flank, Jaden Philogene-Bidace is expected to line up with the 18-year-old ranked among the U23s most-talented players.

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RB Leipzig are believed to be interested in a move for the Londoner, who has five goals from 10 Premier League 2 games this season.

Leading the line could be former Barcelona star Louie Barry, who headed to the club from the Nou Camp 12 months ago.

He has seven goals to his name from 11 appearances, including a last-gasp winner against Reading in the FA Youth Cup.

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