Didier Drogba is missing for Chelsea with a fever, while Frank Lampard has not recovered from a groin strain.
But John Terry is fit after missing England's match with Montenegro, Jose Bosingwa is named on the bench and Gael Kakuta comes into the starting line-up.
Doubtful: Heskey (calf & shin)
Injured: Agbonlahor (groin), Delph (knee), Weimann (ankle)
Injured: Alex (thigh), Benayoun (Achilles), Drogba (fever), Kalou (thigh), Lampard (groin)
The last time Gerard Houllier faced Chelsea from the dugout he masterminded Liverpool to a 1-0 victory back in 2004.
It's not my view to use the same eleven all the time... There are injuries, suspensions, lack of form, tiredness... Sometimes the tactical approach to a game is different so you need different players
Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier
Now in the Aston Villa hotseat, he takes on a Blues team that are now firmly enshrined at the top of the English game, having won three Premier League titles and three FA Cups in those intervening years.
Chelsea trounced Villa 7-1 in March and their avalanche of goals has shown no sign of abating this season, helping the champions to rack up an already imposing looking four-point lead.
But Villa enjoy a superb record over Chelsea on their home patch, having lost just once in their last 11 meetings at Villa Park. Their form this season has been patchy though and they have only managed three wins - all against teams in the bottom four; not ideal when preparing to face a Chelsea side that have scored more goals and conceded less than any other side.
Villa are at least spared having to face Frank Lampard, who has scored more against them than any other Premier League club.
• Aston Villa have lost only once in their last 11 league meetings with Chelsea at Villa Park (0-1 in February 2009).
• This is the 141st meeting between the sides. Aston Villa have won 55 times, Chelsea 53 and there have been 32 draws.
Have your say on this match
• Aston Villa have conceded more fouls (118) than any other Premier League club. But they have picked up no red cards and just 14 yellow cards.
• The three teams that Aston Villa have beaten this season are all currently in the bottom four.
• The Villans have lost only one of their last 12 league matches at Villa Park.
• Florent Malouda has created 19 chances for his teammates this season but he has been credited with no assists.
• Chelsea haven't lost back-to-back away league games since 17 October 2009 when they lost at Wigan and then 1-2 at Villa Park.
• Only Manchester City have prevented Chelsea from scoring in their last 26 league matches.
Downing: 3 goals (3 league); Heskey & A Young: 3 goals (1 league)
Anelka: 7 goals (2 league);
Drogba & Malouda: 6 goals (6 league)
Referee: Lee Mason
Assistant referees: John Flynn & Andy Halliday
Fourth official: Anthony Taylor
LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS
Aston Villa (L1-2 v Tottenham, a): Friedel, L Young, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Albrighton (Bannan 81), Petrov (Ireland 81), Reo-Coker, Downing, A Young, Heskey (Carew 35). Subs not used: Guzan, Sidwell, Clark, Cuellar.
Chelsea (W2-0 v Arsenal, h): Cech, Ivanovic (Ferreira 73), Alex, Terry, Cole, Mikel (Sturridge 89), Essien, Ramires (Zhirkov 83), Malouda, Anelka, Drogba. Subs not used: Turnbull, Van Aanholt, Kakuta, McEachran.
Source: BBC Sport