Liverpool 1-0 Aston Villa: Mo Salah penalty downs Steven Gerrard on his Anfield return - Premier League
|Mo Salah blasts home from the spot to hand Steven Gerrard a defeat on his Anfield return. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)
Some certain things are written in the stars, while it didn’t end in a fairytale as probably expected by some, the return of Steven Gerrard to the Anfield Stadium leaves more goosebumps than usual.
The build-up to the game was all about the man that spent all of his playing careers with the Kops, leading them for twelve productive years, expending all of his tears, sweat and blood for seventeen years of everything there was to give.
Liverpool named Alex Oxlade Chamberlain upfront as false nine with Roberto Firminho out injured and Diogo Jota on the bench, the rest of the team was unchanged from the one that turned out the last time against Wolves.
Steven Gerrard took out Emi Buendia, pushing Ashley Young upfield for the work rate, knowing he’d need above 100% to earn anything from Liverpool and it worked for all its worth before Liverpool made the breakthrough late on in the game.
It was weird to see Gerrard in the opposing dugout, he resisted the urge to sing the famous “you’ll never walk alone” song but his name echoed around the ground from the moment he stepped on the pitch from the changing room.
Liverpool stepped on the gas from the blast of the whistle, they pinned Villa back and the visitors had to rely on counter-attacks, all amounting to nothing with Emi Martinez and some resolute defending keeping Villa in the game.
The first half was mostly Liverpool, they went into the break goalless but they can’t tell why as they launched attacks after attacks on the Villa goal with nothing to show for it.
Liverpool took out Chamberlain and brought on Jota, the Portuguese immediately got on the end of a pass in the Villa area but couldn’t connect well enough to test Martinez, Villa had a rare chance at the other end but Ollie Watkins blasted over.
Liverpool got the breakthrough midway into the second half; Tyron Mings brought down Salah in the penalty box and the VAR didn’t have to do much with the Egyptian blasting past Martinez who guessed the right way but didn’t get enough behind the ball.
Villa huffed and puffed, could have scored as they threw everything forward in search of an equalizer but were also thin at the back and would have their goalkeeper to thank for keeping the scores at 1-0 with Liverpool hitting Villa on the break.
The game ended 1-0 to Liverpool but City and Chelsea both won their games, so the table stays as we were with only Westham yet to play in the current top 6, the other five won including Arsenal with a 3-0 success over Southampton.