Liverpool beat Aston Villa 2-1 thanks to a stoppage time winner from Trent Alexander-Arnold. The Reds were unlucky to go into the break behind but were able to turn their fortunes around in the second half. This win is their first in the Premier League at Anfield since 16th December and also the first time Liverpool have come from behind in the league to win since October.
Liverpool played well in the first half but failed to take the chances they created. It was positive to see the Reds making chances given that they have struggled to do so in many games since the turn of the year. Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota both had good chances to score but did not take them.
However, it was Aston Villa who scored the opening goal of the game. Ollie Watkins’ powerful shot beat Alisson in the 43rd minute. It was initially good defending by Ozan Kabak to block Watkins but his clearance fell to a Villa man and left Kabak out of position. This allowed Watkins to run in behind and get his shot off. Alisson should have done better with the attempt as it was hit directly at him.
Liverpool believed to have equalised through Roberto Firmino before half time but after a long VAR check Jota was adjudged to be offside in the build-up.
Salah was the man to get Liverpool back in to the game in the 57th minute. He was alive at the back post and able to tap-in from a rebounded shot. After the goal it was noticeable that Liverpool began to lull and were struggling to put Villa under pressure. This has happened in previous games and been a constant theme in Liverpool games.
But at the death, Trent’s fantastic effort gave the Reds all three points. He popped up on the left side of the box and dribbled to a shooting position, before firing his effort through a crowd of Villa defenders. It was a sumptuous goal made even better by being a late winning goal.
Reds needed Milner’s leadership
In the absence of Jordan Henderson, James Milner has stepped up well in the last couple of games. He played against Arsenal and was impressive and also played yesterday. His selection has come at a surprise to the Liverpool fans but he has showed why he is needed at the moment with his experience and leadership skills.
Liverpool have looked toothless for long periods of the season and have struggled in the absence of the captain and Virgil van Dijk in defence.
Even against Real Madrid last week, once Liverpool got themselves an away goal, it was surprising how attacking they continued to be. Had Milner been present in the team, he may have told them to slow the game down a little and gain control of it, rather than being so attacking.
With being at a crucial period of the season, Milner’s selection was needed to help the team get through the game. He also performed well in the game, helping out defensively as well.
Important win to gain momentum
Liverpool will now be entering the midweek Madrid game with momentum and hopefully belief. It will be a tough ask to turn around a 3-1 deficit but this win will help the team go into the game with confidence.
Should Liverpool fail to do so, their attentions will turn to securing Champions League football. This win will certainly help with that aspiration as it keeps pressure on the other teams around Liverpool.
The Reds have now won three games on the bounce in the league and need to continue this good run of form if they are to finish in the top four. It is surprisingly still possible for them to do so and if they can keep on winning, they will fancy their chances.