Steven Gerrard returned to Anfield to a standing ovation from the Liverpool fans after being away for six years on Saturday. However, the joy of return was as good as it got for the Aston Villa manager. He suffered his 2nd league defeat in charge of the team with the first coming against Manchester City earlier this season.
Liverpool had chances to score in the first half which they failed to take. In the second half they tightened the screws while attacking the Kop end and finally won a penalty through Mohamed Salah. Salah gave Liverpool the lead, converting the penalty. Liverpool had several more chances on the break as Aston Villa tried to find a goal back but none of them hit the back of the net.
The win puts Liverpool on 2nd place behind Manchester City as they look forward to their next game against Newcastle United. Aston Villa, meanwhile, stay in 12th spot and will be up against relegation facing Norwich next.
Here’s a look at five talking points from the game.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa: Five Talking Points
5. Emiliano Martinez’s defiance was commendable but not enough
Emiliano Martinez put on a really solid showing at Anfield against a Liverpool team who had scored in every game this season leading up to this one. Martinez got down low to deny Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson in the first half at his near post. He kept out Joel Matip’s header in the first half as well.
In the 2nd half, he kept out a close range header from Virgil Van Dijk. The penalty from Mohamed Salah was blasted into the bottom corner, which Martinez had guessed correctly. It could have been worse for Villa without his exploits. That was the case against Manchester City and Arsenal as well. Villa will need him to be at the same level throughout the season.
4. Alisson’s luck saves his blushes
Alisson was on the luckier side today and he better pull his socks up to avoid situations like he got himself into today. In the first half, he misjudged a bouncing ball and allowed Ashley Young to nod it past him while the goal was open. Matip got back to stop the cross on that occasion.
Similarly, in a 2nd half scramble, he left his goal high and dry while trying to gather a ball. It resulted in a proper pinball situation where his clearance hit his own player and came back. It was a pandemonium situation which could easily have ended resulting in an Aston Villa goal.
He didn’t have much to do today but he still could have been the center of attraction if not for his luck. He gets his 8th clean sheet of the season but not without heart in the mouth moments.