Mo Salah opened the scoring for Liverpool as Reds ended Unai Emery’s two-match winning run with a 3-1 thumping of Aston Villa at Villa Park.
A win for the former Arsenal manager would have made him the first Aston Villa manager to secure three consecutive Premier League wins as new manager after securing maximum points from Manchester United and Brighton before the World Cup break.
Unai Emery made some alterations to the squad that defeated Brighton before the World Cup break. Young, Bailey, and Watkins were brought in for Cash, Ramsey, and Ings, respectively. The club’s first choice goalkeeper, Emiliano is yet to return to the team after winning the World Cup, hence, Olsen took his place in the league game.
Jurgen Klopp made three changes to the team that defeated Southampton. Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlaian, and Matip were brought in for Elliot, Gomez, and Firmino, respectively.
Aston Villa: Robin Olsen; Lucas Digne, Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa, Ashley Young; Leon Bailey, Douglas Luiz, Boubacar Kamara, John McGinn; Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Buendia.
Liverpool: Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, Andrew Robertson; Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara; Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Liverpool left no stone unturned as they mounted pressure for an early goal as the game began. Long counterattacks by both sides left the defenders under intense pressure as they struggled to keep off fast-running forwards, trying to find a way into the box.
Aston Villa were the less fortunate with the end-to-end long balls and attacks. They conceded a corner kick in the 5th minute. Liverpool took it, and Aston Villa failed to clear it well. They paid dearly for it when Alexander-Arnold squared the ball back to Mo Salah, who easily tapped it in to give Liverpool the lead.
After taking the lead, Liverpool didn’t hold much sway over the game, as Aston Villa surged forward with greater intensity to find an equaliser.
Liverpool’s back four – Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, and Arnold proved too solid for Watkins and Bailey to break through.
Meanwhile, Kamara and Luiz effectively rubbed shoulders with Liverpool midfield trio – Alcantara, Fabinho, and Henderson, easing off the pressure on the Aston Villa defense.
Nevertheless, Chamberlain’s speed and energy on the right, coupled with Mo Salah’s brilliance on the left, were Liverpool’s best leverage.
They tormented Aston Villa wing backs when in possession of the ball and gave the Reds enough attacking momentum upfront.
Young and Digne did their best, but Olsen pulled stunning saves to deny the Reds goal-scoring opportunities.
In the 37th minute, another poor clearance from Aston Villa after a Liverpool corner kick proved deadly. The Reds doubled the lead with Virgil Van Dijk’s goal.
The Reds went into the first-half break with a comfortable 2-0 lead as Aston Villa did little to respond.
Surprisingly, Aston Villa made no changes to the squad as the second half began, but they effectively mobbed up Liverpool and curtailed their dominance.
Van Dijk, Matip, and Co were coming under intense pressure from Watkins and Bailey, with Aston Villa surging forward and completing more passes in the Liverpool half than before.
Watkins scored just 2 minutes into the second half, but the goal was ruled out with the offside flag up.
Aston Villa finally got their opener in the 59th minute, with Watkins again helping the Lions cut the deficit to bring the scoreline to 2-1.
Aston Villa’s goal lit the game. The match took on a frantic space, with both sides opening up the midfield and charging forward with counterattacks.
Jurgen Klopp subbed on Keita, Elliot, Bajcetic, and Gomez for Alcantara, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, and Alexander-Arnold.
Liverpool secured their lead again in the 81st minute after substitute Bajcetic volleyed in a rebound to seal the win.
Unai Emery then subbed off Kamara, Bailey, and Buendia for Coutinho Dendocker and Ings. The subs had less impact in the game, as Liverpool held on to win the game 3-1 after the final whistle.