Liverpool icon Tommy Smith says they need three points at Aston Villa to calm the nerves around Anfield.

Smith wrote in his column for the Liverpool Echo: "There's a sense of mild irritation around the Reds at the moment and I can well understand why. Our play this season has deserved much more reward than it has got - but in saying that we've only really had ourselves - and some really bad luck at times - to blame.

"Our away form has been in such stark contrast to our home form and we need to keep it going in the next week to compensate for those five league draws at Anfield.

"Plenty of eyes will be on Stewart Downing and I hope he can deliver under that pressure. There'd be no better time or place for the lad to finally get off the mark than at his old club.

"Wide men are always key for me - that's where you can find and exploit space when a game is tight. And Downing has the skill and the pace to drill holes into his old club's defence."