John Aldridge insists preventing Christian Benteke from adding to his tally of four goals in as many games against Liverpool will be vital if the Reds are to clinch three points against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Brendan Rodgers' side travel to Villa Park in search of a fifth consecutive win on the road in all competitions, having claimed victories away from home against Bournemouth, Burnley, AFC Wimbledon and Sunderland in recent weeks.

Paul Lambert's outfit, who clinched a 1-0 result over Liverpool at Anfield in September, are currently without a win in six Barclays Premier League fixtures and occupy 13th place in the standings.

Towering Belgian striker Benteke has featured in each of those games after returning from an Achilles injury sustained in March 2014, which kept him sidelined until October.

Aldridge pinpoints the powerful forward as Villa's dangerman and has called on Liverpool's defenders to neutralise his threat right from the first whistle at the weekend.

"Liverpool's away form has picked up of late - four straight wins is good going, at any level," he wrote in his Liverpool Echo column.

"If it is to continue at Aston Villa, they will need to do something they've found difficult in recent seasons - control Christian Benteke.

"He has caused us plenty of problems in the past - I remember one game at Anfield where he gave Martin Skrtel a torrid time in particular. Villa, though, should be short on confidence given the way their season has panned out."

Liverpool will look to welcome Raheem Sterling, who has missed the Reds' last two games after being afforded a break by manager Rodgers, back into the side for the trip to Birmingham.

Sterling had featured in 20 matches for the team prior to his recent rest and Aldridge believes the 20-year-old will have benefited from the time spent out of intense action.

"I must admit I was a bit concerned when I heard Raheem Sterling had been given a few days off and would not be playing against Sunderland," admitted the former forward.

"I could see the logic in giving him a rest, because he has played a lot of football at a very young age.

"But I was worried that Liverpool wouldn't be able to cope without him, especially as his break coincided with Adam Lallana's injury. I thought they may have waited until Lallana was back before thinking about letting him go.

"But it went well. Two good away wins in the bag, and now Sterling comes back for the Villa game with renewed energy and vigour. You never know, it could yet prove to be a masterstroke by Brendan Rodgers."