The reputation of the Liverpool supporters and the players they worship ensure many visitors to Anfield are beaten before they set foot on the pitch. Martin Laursen promises Aston Villa will not make that mistake.

The Dane and his colleagues are one of the form sides in the Premiership having won their last three Premier League games, maintained their chase for a top six finish and qualification for the Uefa Cup.

Indeed they are playing so well, never better than during Saturday's resounding thumping of Reading, they are level on points with their next opponents and will run out against Rafael Benitez's men knowing victory could lift them into the Champions League places. These are heady days at Villa Park.

It is for that reason they travel north in such confident mood. Liverpool have not won in the league since Boxing Day and have seen their title charge slow to a meandering stroll.

The Spaniard has been sufficiently alarmed to curtail his rotation. Stephen Gerrard remains indispensable and even Fernando Torres has started the last nine league games after spending the early part of the campaign in and out like a drunk doing the hokey-cokey.

Laursen is, therefore, likely to have to mark the Highlighted One next Monday at a time when the Spain international is scoring goals from every angle.

The task would be enough to give most central defenders sleepless night but emboldened by his own goal-scoring form and his team's burgeoning self belief, the former AC Milan defender is in defiant mood.

"It doesn't really matter to us who they play up front," he said. "They are a good side and all their players are really good. People might say you have to watch out for the like of Torres but we fear no one.

"I am sure it is going to be an incredibly exciting game. Liverpool play nice football as well, it is always special to play at Anfield and as a team we are really looking forward to it."

Villa will be presented with an opportunity to improve their dismal record at Anfield. They have not won there for more than six years when Darius Vassell, Lee Hendrie and Dion Dublin gave them a 3-1 victory.

More recently they have been on the wrong end of the same scoreline on their last two visits. The statistic is not lost on the 30-year-old.

"Rafa Benitez has a good team and Aston Villa do not have a great record against them," he noted. "They are a top side and they are always difficult to beat which is why we have struggled against them in the past."

But the manner in which they dismantled Reading gives Martin O'Neill's men genuine cause for optimism.

"It was fantastic to get a 3-1 win last weekend." Laursen continued. "We were saying before the game that it was really, really important for us to win this game if we wanted to stay up where we would like to in contention for a place in Europe.

"You never now with Reading how they will perform by it was a good win. I thought we played well and did a good job. It was comfortable in the end."

Laursen was on target with his sixth goal of the season on Saturday and will today hope to use the euphoria from that to persuade his manager to agree a new contract.

Also meeting with O'Neill is fellow centrehalf Gary Cahill who has become frustrated by his lack of first team opportunities since ending his loan spell with Sheffield United.

Cahill is wanted by several top flight clubs, including Bolton and is rumoured to have interested Alex McLeish at Birmingham City. Bryan Robson is also keen to take him back to Bramall Lane.

Meanwhile former Villa goalkeeper Stefan Postma has won a legal battle with Dutch club ADO Den Haag to enable him to return to England with Championship outfit Queens Park Rangers.