Jan 17, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
After a string of mixed results this season, USMNT goalkeeper Brad Guzan is hoping Aston Villa pull off a shock win when they travel to Anfield to face Liverpool (Watch live on NBC, 12:30pm ET and online via NBC Sports Live Extra) on Saturday.
If they’re going to do that, Guzan knows they’ll have to stop one man in particular.
He goes by the name of Luis. Last name, Suarez.
“Suarez is at the top of his game right now. He’s a great player, that’s there for all to see,” Guzan told Aston Villa’s website. “As professional footballers, you want to compete with the best players in the world and challenge yourself. Saturday is another big test.”
Guzan came up against Suarez twice last season and managed to shutout the Uruguayan striker on both occasions. Aston Villa beat Liverpool 3-1 during their last trip to Anfield on December 15 2012, but lost to the Reds at Villa Park last March. During both games Suarez was kept quiet by Guzan and Villa’s defense, so is there any secret to the American’s dominance over the most in-form striker in the world?
“You have to be alert and expect the unexpected with Suarez because he’s not afraid to have a go from anywhere and everywhere,” Guzan said. “He will have a go from distance and from different angles on the pitch too. He can score with both feet, score with his head, set up other players. He’s a handful. But saying that, that’s what makes the Premier League the very best in the world. We’re excited and looking forward and we will meet it head on.”
Facing Suarez this season may be an entirely different proposition for Guzan and his Villa teammates, as the 26-year-old forward has scored 22 goals in 16 Premier League appearances and has 13 goals in his last eight PL games.
How can Villa and U.S. international Guzan stop the superstar they call El Pistolero?
“He’s human like the rest of us,” Guzan said. “So with the ability we have in our backline – if we play well, talk to each other, stay on our toes and remain alert – we can hopefully make it a long day for him. If we do that, we have a chance of getting ourselves a good result.”
Good luck, Brad.
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