Season 2021/2022, Villa hold-off Liverpool – almost

Both managers, Jürgen Klopp and Steven Gerrard, will have left the field on Saturday frustrated, but, on balance, reasonably satisfied.  Klopp’s Reds were able to extend their winning streak to seven games while our Villans were able to limit the Premier League’s most prolific scoring machine to just one goal at Anfield.

Klopp will, naturally, be bothered at how, when Villa were throwing caution to the wind to get an equaliser, his team missed multiple opportunities to close the game out.  Gerrard, meanwhile, will be ruing his captain’s momentary loss of self-discipline when he blatantly tripped Mo Salah.  He had forced Salah outside to his weaker right foot, at a bad angle, and with Douglas Luiz and Matt Targett covering.  He had done his job; he should have let him go.

Instead, Tyron Mings, all 6’ 5” of him, felt compelled to reach for the ball between the feet of the 5’ 9” Mo Salah.  Salah could also feel Mings’ hand pulling at his shoulder.  It was an easy decision to make.  Go to ground and get to shoot a penalty, at Anfield, facing the Kop!

That Salah was able to ping the penalty off the inside of Martinez’s left post – two inches wider and the ball would have come back out – made it impossible for Martinez to reach, though he came close.

That goal, the only goal of the game, came in the 67th minutes, three quarters into the game.  Up until that time Liverpool had only forced Martinez into one decent save, from a van Dijk header that he acrobatically pushed over the bar.

Of course, that stout defending came at a price.  Our Villans had yet to manufacture a single shot on goal.  Still, Klopp would not have wanted to wait any longer to gain the leader.

Under Gerrard, this is a very dangerous Villa squad with twelve different players having scored at least one Premier League goal this season including five defenders.  Hopefully, Tyrone will learn a lesson from this.  He could have cost us three points and that could count for a lot come the end of the season.

Now we need to head to Norwich and put this game behind us so we can pick up an invaluable three points.

UTV.

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