A Villa 1 – 3 Liverpool

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Liverpool moved as much as sixth within the Premier League desk with a 3-1 win over Aston Villa in a vastly entertaining recreation at Villa Park.

Mohamed Salah opened the scoring for Liverpool after simply 5 minutes and Jurgen Klopp’s aspect doubled the benefit late within the half when Virgil van Dijk’s shot deflected into the far nook of the online. However Villa’s second-half salvo threatened a comeback.

Ollie Watkins’ expertly positioned header halved the deficit and probabilities continued to circulate at each ends in a wide-open contest with Darwin Nunez notably wasteful. However “cheeky teenager” Stefan Bajcetic, as his supervisor referred to as him after the recreation, got here off the bench to attain his first senior purpose and seal the factors for Liverpool.

Participant scores

Aston Villa: Olsen (7), Younger (7), Konsa (6), Mings (6), Digne (7), Luiz (7), Kamara (7), McGinn (7), Buendia (7), Watkins (7), Bailey (6).

Subs: Ings (n/a), Coutinho (n/a), Dendoncker (n/a).

Liverpool: Alisson (7), Alexander-Arnold (7), Matip (6), Van Dijk (8), Robertson (8), Fabinho (7), Thiago (6), Henderson (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Nunez (7), Salah (8).

Subs: Elliott (6), Keita (6), Gomez (6), Bajcetic (8), Doak (n/a).

Participant of the match: Mohamed Salah.

The consequence marks Unai Emery’s first Premier League defeat since changing Steven Gerrard and there have been actually positives for the Spaniard. However such is the efficiency of this Liverpool staff, going toe-to-toe with Salah and the remaining all the time seemed to be a threat.

How Liverpool beat Villa

Liverpool had been on their technique to a 3rd consecutive Premier League win for the primary time this season early within the recreation due to Salah’s breakthrough purpose and it was a magnificence. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s outrageous move discovered Andy Robertson who arrange Salah.

It was a reminder of how Liverpool can lower via the opposition with top quality and with Villa choosing a excessive line of defense there have been alternatives all through. However the house aspect triggered a lot of issues at the opposite finish – and it made for an amazing recreation.

Workforce information

Emiliano Martinez was absent for Aston Villa because of Argentina’s World Cup celebrations with Robin Olsen deputising. Ashley Younger, Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey additionally got here in for Matty Money, Danny Ings and Jacob Ramsey because the 4 adjustments from the win over Brighton.

Jurgen Klopp made three adjustments to the Liverpool staff that defeated Southampton earlier than the break with Joel Matip, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming in for Joe Gomez, Harvey Elliott and Roberto Firmino. It was Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first Premier League begin in 10 months.

Watkins wasted a few probabilities and Leon Bailey miskicked when properly positioned. It proved pricey when Salah teed up Van Dijk to measure the ball into the online on his left foot, the strike discovering its manner previous Robin Olsen after deflecting off defender Ezri Konsa.

However Villa saved coming. Watkins evaded Joel Matip to move the ball into the nook and the momentum seemed to be with Emery’s males. Nunez would have needed to take the blame for the dropped factors following quite a lot of misses – however as an alternative he arrange the important thing purpose.

After bursting away down the left channel, the Uruguayan did properly to preserve the ball in play and substitute Bajcetic confirmed actual composure to skip previous Olsen earlier than beating Tyrone Mings on the purpose line. It was robust on Villa however Liverpool’s high quality advised ultimately.

Who’s Liverpool’s new ‘cheeky’ Spanish midfielder?

Evaluation by Sky Sports activities’ Richard Morgan:

Stefan Bajcetic
Bajcetic is congratulated by Klopp on the full-time whistle

“He is cheeky as hell and he just isn’t apprehensive about something,” was Klopp’s evaluation of Bajcetic’s show at Villa Park, when the midfielder grew to become Liverpool’s third-youngest scorer in only his seventh look for the membership.

After Monday night time’s transient cameo within the Midlands – Bajcetic was solely on the pitch for 2 minutes earlier than exhibiting actual composure to provide his aspect a 3-1 lead – Liverpool followers might be eager to see extra of the 18-year-old Spaniard.

Bajcetic joined the membership from Celta Vigo’s youth academy in February 2021 for €250,000 as Liverpool beat archrivals Manchester United to his signature and after impressing as a centre again for each the U18s and U23s, he was referred to as up for the primary staff’s preseason tour of Asia and Austria final summer time.

The teenager – who comes from footballing inventory along with his dad, Srdan, a former Serbian footballer – was an unused substitute in Liverpool’s Premier League opener at Fulham in August, the identical month he prolonged his contract at Anfield, earlier than coming off the bench to make his debut in a 9-0 win towards Bournemouth.

Different landmarks quickly adopted as Bajcetic grew to become the Reds’ youngest Champions League performer having featured towards Ajax in September, whereas he began his first recreation for the membership as a holding midfielder of their League Cup win over Derby County in November.

It’s as a No 6 the place Klopp sees the versatile Spain U18 worldwide’s greatest place, one thing that might save FSG from having to enter the switch market in January.

“He simply performs soccer and he can try this exceptionally properly,” mentioned Klopp of his new younger cost.

Stefan Bajcetic

“He had a football-playing father, so the genes are there but in addition the perspective, consciousness and match intelligence. It is a giant pleasure to work with these boys.”

Klopp: Now we have to be the ache within the bottom for all people

Liverpool supervisor Jurgen Klopp mentioned: “I beloved it. In a troublesome recreation we performed a variety of great things. We had been not superior in all moments, particularly firstly of the second half when Aston Villa had been clearly higher. We misplaced rhythm there, and once you lose rhythm in an intense recreation it is troublesome to return again.

“However we discovered methods to get out of that. We had some huge counter-attacks and will have scored the third purpose a lot earlier. I beloved the beginning of the recreation, that was actually, actually good and precisely what we needed.

Fabinho and Mo Salah celebrate with Virgil van Dijk
Fabinho and Mo Salah have a good time with Virgil van Dijk

On closing the hole to the highest 4: “Now we have to be the ache within the bottom for all people. That is the way it is. After all, we’re the chasers.

“We are usually not in one of the best place, there’s distance between us and different groups. The primary two or three are perhaps too distant, I do not know. In the event that they win all their video games we’ve got no probability.

“However there are different groups [battling for] the Champions League spots in the meanwhile and we’ve got to do our half. Meaning successful soccer video games and we’ll see how shut we will get. It have to be the goal, to qualify for the Champions League. For that we’ve got a variety of video games nonetheless to go for. All of us must go via troublesome moments in video games, between video games and after them.

“We bought three factors right now and that is one of the best technique to catch up with to those spots. After all we go for that, little doubt about it, we do not assume we’ve got it. Under no circumstances, as all of the groups up there have performed an distinctive season. It is simply so long as we will see them, then we’ll struggle for getting them, that is it.”

Emery: The consequence was robust for us

Ollie Watkins questions a decision

“Actually upset. We did an amazing effort. It is so laborious for us. I feel the primary half we began properly. We created probabilities. We did not rating and conceding two objectives from set-pieces is not regular as a result of we’re working properly on the set-pieces. The consequence was a bit bit robust for us.

“The second half we would have liked to preserve, once more, our recreation plan and to strive to get probabilities to attain and alternatives to return again. We performed for half-hour very properly. We scored, we created probabilities and we had been higher than them, I feel.”

Did you make substitutions too late? “No. A very powerful factor I feel is to preserve the identical place we had been talking about… the potential for having possession, do not concede the simple transition and, if somebody misplaced his place, they executed it and, second half, we reacted very properly.”

Arduous-working Nunez divides opinion

Darwin Nunez outmuscles Lucas Digne
Darwin Nunez outmuscles Lucas Digne

Sky Sports activities’ Adam Bate

Former Republic of Eire worldwide Andy Townsend, on co-commentary for this recreation, named Nunez as his participant of the match and that made some sense given his prepared working, however the striker’s wastefulness won’t have impressed everybody watching.

Nunez jumped over the ball when it regarded simpler to complete along with his left foot then misdirected a header large when unmarked. He shinned a volley after working clear via on purpose after which didn’t beat Olsen from point-blank vary. That was all in the primary half.

His contact is much from positive, his decision-making lower than exemplary, however such is his working energy and urge for food to work that few forwards within the Premier League are capable of discover themselves in such good positions as typically as Nunez. It proved decisive ultimately.

One ultimate run in behind the defence led to Liverpool’s third purpose. That’s the reason the long-term prognosis for Nunez’s Anfield profession stays optimistic. Absolutely anybody who’s capable of be on the tip of this many probabilities goes to attain objectives – and a number of them.

Liverpool’s win in stats

  • Liverpool have received three consecutive Premier League video games for the primary time since successful their ultimate three video games of the 2021-22 marketing campaign
  • Liverpool full-back Andrew Robertson assisted his 54th Premier League purpose on this match, making him the all-time main assister amongst defenders in Premier League historical past
  • Mohamed Salah scored his fifty fifth away Premier League purpose for Liverpool; the joint most of any Reds participant, degree with Michael Owen
  • Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins has scored 5 objectives in 5 Premier League appearances towards Liverpool, two greater than he is scored towards some other aspect
  • Stefan Bajcetic scored his first Premier League purpose aged 18 years and 65 days, turning into Liverpool third youngest Premier League scorer, behind Michael Owen and Raheem Sterling
  • Ben Doak got here off the bench for Liverpool to make his Premier League debut aged 17 years and 45 days, turning into the youngest ever Scottish participant within the competitors’s historical past

FPL Stats: Aston Villa 1-3 Liverpool

Targets Salah, Van Dijk, Watkins
Assists Robertson, Salah, Luiz
Bonus factors Salah (3), Van Dijk (2), Robertson (1)

What’s subsequent?

Sunday 1st January 1:00pm

Kick off 2:00pm

Aston Villa are again in motion on New Yr’s Day after they face Tottenham away from house survive Sky Sports activities Premier League.

Liverpool are usually not but executed in 2022. They host Leicester survive Friday night earlier than taking up Brentford on January 2. Each video games are survive Sky.

Monday 2nd January 5:00pm

Kick off 5:30pm

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