Liverpool 1-3 Aston Villa Match Report

16 Dec

Liverpool 1-3 Aston Villa Match Report

 

Liverpool returned to Anfield after a rare week’s rest in preparation for the visit of Aston Villa, who had a great away win against the in-form Norwich City in the Capital One Cup  at Carrow Road on Wednesday night to progress to the last four of the competition. Liverpool have been on a good run of form recently with 3 wins in a week, two wins in the league and the win in Italy that secured qualification to the knock-out stages of the Europa League, prior to this week’s preparation.

 

The Team

 

Brendan Rodgers replaced the injured Enrique with Downing at left back with the rest of the defence unchanged with Reina, Johnson, Skrtel and Agger keeping their places. The midfield meant Shelvey played on the left with Sterling on the right and Lucas, Allen and Gerrard in the middle with Suarez returning to lead the line after his one match suspension.

 

The Match

 

Liverpool started the match well with Gerrard having a chance early on and Shelvey being denied from a terrific tackle after superb work from Suarez. Former Villa man Downing also went close with a long range effort.

 

Liverpool were the dominant side with Villa’s defence bending but not breaking under Liverpool’s pressure. But in the 29th minute the visitors stunned Anfield when a short pass from Holman to Benteke on the edge of the area allowed the big striker to shoot in off the post and past the helpless Reina after his defenders gave Benteke too much time and space.

 

The goal was totally against the run of play but the lead was doubled 5 minutes before the break when a clever move between Weimann and Benteke resulted in Weimann firing past Reina and leaving Liverpool with a mountain to climb in the second half.

 

Shelvey was replaced by last week’s hero Cole for the second half, but was guilty of losing possession to Benteke after being put under pressure from a Joe Allen pass. Benteke sliced through the middle of Liverpool’s defence before placing the ball past the exposed Reina to make it 3-0 to the visitors.

 

Liverpool had a big shout for a penalty prior to Villa’s third goal when Agger had his shirt grabbed as he waited for a cross but as always for Liverpool the referee wasn’t interested in the offence.

 

Liverpool tried to get back into the match as they pushed Villa back but the visitors made it very difficult getting men behind the ball and defending very deep.

 

Gerrard managed to head a consolation goal from a long range Johnson effort, but it was too little too late in a disappointing result and performance from the Anfield men.

 

Summary

 

Still can’t understand why Downing gets played as a left back, he never will be. Good start from Liverpool but failure to capitalise on dominance once again punished in an ever so familiar theme. Liverpool’s defence was as poor as it’s been for some time and struggled to cope with the impressive Benteke.  Don’t think we will ever get another penalty after the latest big shout when Agger was man-handled. Liverpool have to win these kind of fixtures and this defeat is a big blow when things were looking up. Liverpool never really looked like making a comeback as we lacked imagination and guile offensively and I was surprised we managed a consolation. Got to beat Fulham next week or big concerns for the new year.

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