Dean Smith mentions Tom Cruise with Aston Villa braced for Liverpool backlash

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There will be no dangling from a harness inside a vault, nor will Dean Smith be jumping from an exploding train.

Instead, the Great Barr chief will be directing his own Mission Impossible – even if it’s without film star Tom Cruise.

Villa head to Anfield tomorrow looking to cause one of the shocks of the season as Smith attempts to lift his side out of the dreaded drop-zone.

“Unfortunately we haven’t got Tom Cruise with us,” Smith quipped, when asked if beating champions Liverpool – a wounded animal after their City defeat – was an impossible mission.

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“But I’ve got 11 players and I’ve seen a desire in their eyes. They feel stung by criticism, you are going to get criticism when you’re in a position we’re in. Their job is to prove people wrong.

“We’ll take heart from that performance (vs Liverpool in November), we took them until the last three minutes and we’re disappointed we didn’t hold on.

“There were silly mistakes for their goals but we more than matched them. We made sure we weren’t outworked on the day and we have to make sure we’re not outworked on Sunday.

“We have to be mindful the quality they have, they are the Premier League and European champions. We have to be at our best.

“It’s a good time to play them when they’ve already won the league, certainly. Having no fans in the stadium will help as well. I think we’re starting to get used to that now. They’re an exceptional team.”

Smith watched relegation rivals Bournemouth get hammered against Newcastle in midweek, before West Ham edged away from the pack with a victory of Chelsea.

Villa climbed above the Cherries on goals scored yet still remain a point off Watford in 17th. Bournemouth, meanwhile, play Manchester United today (3pm) with Watford at Chelsea this evening (8pm).

Tomorrow, West Ham go to Newcastle (2.15pm) before Villa’s daunting trip to Anfield (4.30pm).

On the relegation picture with six games to go, Smith said: “You saw Brighton win in the last minute against Arsenal and West Ham win in the last minute against Chelsea. It didn’t escape me that West Ham’s stats were pretty similar to ours against Chelsea, but they managed to stick the ball in the net a couple of times. We can take great heart from that, knowing you can go and beat these big teams.”





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