Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool Match Report

25 Aug

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Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool Match Report

 

Liverpool made it two wins from two games to start this new season off as they recorded a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park. Daniel Sturridge’s first half goal was the difference between the sides as Liverpool dominated the first half before defending their slender lead in the second half against Aston Villa’s constant pressure.

 

The Team

 

Liverpool  had a full week to prepare for the Aston Villa match after winning their first game of the season against Stoke last Saturday, whereas Aston Villa have had a tough week of fixtures to start off the new season. Villa beat Arsenal away from home last Saturday before losing away to Chelsea in midweek.

 

Brendan Rodgers named an unchanged team from the side that beat Stoke for the visit to Villa Park with Mignolet, Johnson, Enrique, Toure, Agger, Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson, Aspas, Coutinho and Sturridge all starting for the Reds. The headline news was that new signing Aly Cissokho was included on the substitutes’ bench.

 

The Match

 

Liverpool started the match brightly enjoying plenty of possession in the early stages of the match and it was Liverpool who created the first opportunity when Aspas slipped the ball through to Johnson but the full-back’s effort was blocked.

 

The statistics read Liverpool had 75 per cent of the ball in the opening 10 minutes of the match as Liverpool established their passing game early on.

 

Enrique linked with Coutinho down the left flank before the Brazilian unfortunately picked his spot in the Holte End. Liverpool were still enjoying the majority of possession without troubling the Villa goal.

 

But then in the 21st minute Sturridge broke the deadlock when he danced around a succession of challenges before rifling the ball into the top corner with the outside of his left foot.

 

Liverpool’s movement from Aspas, Sturridge, Coutinho and Henderson continued to cause Villa trouble just like Stoke had experienced the previous week.

 

But the hosts became more of an attacking threat in the closing stages of the first half and Toure had to make a terrific sliding tackle to thwart one attack before Mignolet palmed away the resulting Benteke corner kick.

 

Villa almost equalised just before half-time when Weimann’s powerful effort was slightly deflected over Mignolet’s crossbar after Liverpool had failed to clear an awkward bouncing ball.

 

Villa started the second half the way the ended the first half, but it was Sturridge who threatened first with a terrific dribble along the right wing before producing a centre which the Villa defence managed to clear for a corner.

 

Then Villa were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position but Bacuna’s effort hit the wall before Westwood blasted the rebound high and wide.

 

Moments later Westwood had another strike at goal but he shot over.

 

Villa continued to do most of the attacking with Liverpool playing on the counter-attack, and one of those counter-attacks resulted in an opportunity for Johnson but he thrashed his shot high and wide from a dangerous position.

 

Then Liverpool had to thank their Captain for a brilliant saving block as Gerrard threw himself at a shot from El Ahmadi at the edge of the box.

 

Rodgers brought on Cissokho for his debut replacing Aspas in the 68th minute as Liverpool continued to defend their slender lead.

 

Villa went close in the 75th minute when Toure could only head a clearance to Agbonlahor but the forward’s instant left-footed effort went wide of the post.

 

Tonev worked Mignolet with a rasping effort before a defensive mix-up cost the Reds a corner which the visitors’ managed to clear.

 

Joe Allen replaced Coutinho with 8 minutes to go as Rodgers hoped his introduction would give Liverpool more possession in the closing stages.

 

But Villa continued to threaten and Mignolet had to pull off a brilliant save from Benteke as the big striker hit a powerful volley on target after breaking free of the Liverpool defence.

 

Liverpool had a good shout for a penalty when Sturridge was felled by Guzan as he tried to go past him but the referee waved away Liverpool’s appeals for a penalty.

 

Benteke’s chance proved to be Villa’s last chance as Liverpool managed to run down the clock to earn a hard worked win against an energetic Aston Villa.

 

Summary

 

A terrific start to the season for Liverpool with 2 wins from their first 2 games. Liverpool played some very good football in the first half with some great possession and movement from Sturridge, Henderson, Aspas and Coutinho. A great goal by Sturridge fit to win any match as he produced a moment of sheer individual class to win the game for Liverpool. Sturridge was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty late on when Guzan brought him down, it was a clear penalty. Gerrard and Lucas were superb in midfield against an energetic Villa midfield, but what pleased me most was how well Liverpool defended against constant pressure from Villa in the second half. Toure and Agger were superb in the centre of defence and they martialled the dangerous Benteke superbly for the whole game. Mignolet again proved what a good signing he is by making a couple of great saves, especially the one late on from Benteke. Another good performance from Liverpool and a good ground out, gritty win which will give great confidence going into next week’s match against Manchester United.

 

 

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