Liverpool maintain their 6 point lead at the top of the table with a win at the death at Villa Park. It may be early into the season, but this win today had that of the feeling of champions. If you don’t believe me, or think I’m counting chickens before they hatch, listen to the commentators words post match.
After a wild midweek league cup clash with Arsenal, Jurgen Klopp went back to most of his regular starters, with Lovren starting in defense and Lallana coming in for Fabinho.
Villa started lively, as should’ve been expected. Who wouldn’t want a proper go at the Champions of Europe. El Ghazi did well to create some space and get his effort at Alisson, but the Brazilian blocks his effort.
Shortly after, Jordan Henderson did well to read and cut out a Villa counter, but avoided an absolute howler as he scuffed his back-pass to Alisson who read it well and was quick out to collect.
Liverpool began to grow into the game. Mane had a good chance to give the reds the lead but headed wide, then Heaton did well to deny Salah a goal. Van Dijk played in a fantastic ball to Salah who got off a decent effort, but was saved.
Villa then scored from a free kick, as Trezuget was picked out at the back post, unmarked. After a VAR check, was confirmed as a goal. Villa 1-0.
After some intense play, perhaps the most controversial piece of play took place. Firmino looked to certainly bring the Reds level, but was ruled offside. At the first VAR check, the angle presented on the broadcast made it out to seem that Firmino was onside. But, after a second look, the Brazilian’s shoulder was offside. Still 1-0 Villa.
More VAR madness ensued as Sadio Mane was taken down in the Villa box, but booked for a dive. After the check the dive was confirmed, Mane awarded a yellow card, and Liverpool fans left fuming. Salah missed a decent chance wide right before the end of the half, and play carried out to the whistle. 1-0 Villa at halftime.
Both teams came out of the tunnel unchanged for the second half. The Reds started the second half much more adamantly, looking like a team on a certain mission. Wijnaldum and Salah had decent efforts saved by Heaton.
The Reds looked lively. Jordan Henderson found himself in a great position inside the box, picked his head up to play Mane in at the back post and made an absolute mess of it. A huge chance gone begging the Reds build up play was finding its rhythm .
Villa tried to counter from a Liverpool corner, and Van Dijk cut it out but failed to get a clear touch on the ball and was awarded a yellow card. Songs rang out around Villa Park at Van Dijk; “You’re just a s**t Tyrone Mings.”
The Reds made two changes, with Klopp bringing on Origi for Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain for Salah. The subs proved to have a positive impact, as the Reds had a fury of chances saved and cleared inside the Villa box. Two good ones kept out from Ox.
Adam Lallana was played into space with a great chance begging at his feet, but couldn’t sort his feet out and another chance went begging. Trent went close again with a good hit outside the box, but was wide of the far post. Klopp then made his last sub, Keita for Lallana.
Liverpool had most of the possession towards the end of the match. Mane picked a ball up on the right side of the Villa box, examined his options, cut the ball onto his left foot and played a pinpoint ball right to the back post. At the back post waiting was Andy Robertson’s head, and Liverpool were level on 87’. 1-1. Villa looked demoralized.
ejan Lovren had a good chance to win the match for the Reds on the 90’, but headed his effort wide. Five minutes of stoppage time were added, and groans around Villa park could be heard. Liverpool were going for it. Liverpool won a free kick in a very dangerous position outside the Villa box. Trent’s effort was deflected wide and the Reds had a corner. Trent played a quick ball off the corner to the near post, where it found Mane’s head and the Senegalese international buried his chance at the far post. 2-1 in the 94’. Absolute bedlam ensued in the Liverpool away end, as the Reds gained all three points from an unpromising position.
Relentless. Liverpool showed today that they want it. They won’t give up, they’ll play every second of every match until the final whistle blows. Determination goes a long way, and the Reds never once looked rattled in their quest to turn the score line around.
A clash against Man City looming in the near future, with a mid-week match against Genk being the precursor. Up the Might Reds!