Aston Villa were going into the game to bounce back after an unlucky defeat against Chelsea in midweek. They maybe should have got the win because Ivanovic, who got the winner, shouldn’t have stayed on the field. Terry also handled the ball so he should have conceded a penalty which could have resulted in a goal.
Whereas Liverpool were looking to continue their good start to the campaign, and build on their win against Stoke. Liverpool only scored one goal, but they did have more shots than any other team in the Premier League last weekend. There was plenty of build up play from the midfield three and the front three.
Both teams made a bright start to the game but it was Liverpool who grew into the game the quickest. Villa looked to use the pace of their strikers to get in behind the defence, but when they lost the ball they struggled to get the ball back.
There was plenty of neat build play by the away side which saw them create the majority of the chances in the first 20 minutes. The Reds used Sturridge as their focal point of their attack, with all the midfielders playing around him, they had a few glimpses of the goal but there was no stand out chance for either side.
When Liverpool attacked, both full backs were involved unlike when they played Stoke and that left spaces for Villa to exploit. They hit them on the counter when they won the ball back with Agbonlahor and Weimann running down the channels.
The away side’s dominance paid off in the 21st minute when Enrique found Daniel Sturridge who finished calmly. The left back flew forward and his pass into the box found the forward who took it round the keeper and slotted it into the roof of the net to give the defenders running back no chance.
In the first half, whenever Villa pressed their opponents passed the ball to Mignolet who cleared up the field. It just wasn’t working for the Villains especially once they conceded because it knocked some confidence out of them. They let Liverpool command the tempo of the game.
Liverpool started to play a lot more relaxed after half an hour, simply because Villa didn’t look as if they wanted the ball. Paul Lambert looked so frustrated on the side line. Most of the time they received the ball they played it back to the defence, only Agbonlahor looked to break the back four.
It was looking good for Liverpool who were a threat going forward and looked solid at the back.
Towards the end of the first half, Villa were getting frustrated and were looking to take out the goal scorer. Fabian Delph was booked for having a cheeky clip at Sturridge’s legs.
They finally started to threaten through Benteke and Bacuna but Toure was rarely beaten. He minimized the threat of the Belgian with the Villa star limited to one chance in the first half.
Aston Villa showed more belief and confidence in the second half, it made it a more competitive contest. The crowd and the players stepped up a gear and it was like they had twelve men on the field, the players wanted to give their fans something to chant about
Paul Lambert realised that his side were showing promise and he made an attacking change. Matt Lowton was taken off and El Ahmadi was brought on.
Liverpool had to defend more and you would expect to when you are away from home, they were a lot more stretched. Rodgers knew the team needed help, and he made a defensive change which saw Aspas subbed for Cissokho for his debut.
The midfield had to track back a lot more, but Toure still looked like it would take something special to get in behind him. Benteke was the only one getting the better of the number 4 with headers from Westwood’s corners.
Stevie G who was the go to player for Liverpool in the first half, turned into another defender in the second period. He looked to lead by example and he showed his leadership qualities while his side needed to dig deep.
As the game headed to the last ten minutes, the crowd believed even more that their team could get an equaliser. Liverpool defended further back and Sturridge was called upon to help with the dirty work.
Lambert brought on another striker to see if he could rescue a point by giving Helenius a run out. With Villa pushing for a goal, Brendan Rodgers opted to make another defensive change by bringing on Allen for Coutinho.
Benteke came ever so close to getting a point after a great strike which forced his fellow Belgian to make a one handed save. It was deja-vu for Liverpool who as in the Stoke game they took the lead and invited pressure. Once again Mignolet was called upon to save the reds, and Villa were unlucky not to get something from the game.
I was impressed by Liverpool because they were a constant threat for 45 minutes and they defended when needed. They worked hard throughout the game and they were the team who deserved the three points.
I was especially impressed with Coutinho, Enrique and Sturridge. Jose Enrique acted as a left winger throughout the game but he also defended well. He was a threat as well as Coutinho who was meant to be the winger.
With Enrique playing further up the field, it allowed the number 10 to drift into the centre for his favourite position. He was the play maker for his side and was involved in every move just like the first game. To show how much of a threat he was, the Villa players doubled up to win the ball. He played a part in the goal just like the other two I have mentioned, his part in the goal was that he played for the dummy from Enrique’s pass.
Sturridge impressed me because he linked well with Coutinho, he scored the goal but he also found himself in a full back position from time to time. For the goal, he started in the left winger position, and his run allowed space for the pass to come to him and the rest is history. He also dropped back to midfield to help with the attack or defensive work.
Most of the credit goes to Liverpool but Villa deserve some praise for their performance. The only thing that they lacked was the quality to put it into the net.