Liverpool secured a comfortable 3-0 victory over Aston Villa at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
The Reds entered this game on the back of two wins and a draw from their first three of the season. A strange coincidence occured in those wins, with Jurgen Klopp’s men being down to 10 in both those clashes. Their last game was a smash-and-grab 2-1 win away to Newcastle as they looked to extend their unbeaten start.
Villa, on the other hand, have completed a remarkable turnaround following their opening day embarrassment at the hands of the Magpies. Since then, they have won four games on the bounce, scoring 15 goals in the process and earning a spot in the Conference League Group Stage. Unai Emery named a strong lineup for this game.
Liverpool made an electric start to the contest as they piled the pressure on Aston Villa with a wonderful goal just three minutes in. Dominik Szoboszlai latched onto a loose ball and smashed the ball into the net from outside the box.
With the Anfield crowd behind them, the hosts played fluent football and their wingers had their tails up.The Reds doubled their lead in the 22nd minute after Mohamed Salah found space on the wing and played the ball to Darwin Nunez. His shot struck the post and fell right into the recovering Matty Cash’s path and bounced off him and into the net.
Aston Villa’s forwards looked to press Liverpool’s high line and created a few opportunities for themselves after forcing a few mistakes. However, they were unable to score as the hosts led 2-0 at the break.
Mohamed Salah tripled the Reds’ lead just 10 minutes after the restart following a flick-on by Nunez after a corner. This allowed them to sit back and allow Aston Villa to come onto them as they protected their lead. Klopp’s timely changes facilitated their mission of keeping a clean sheet, but their performance was marred by an injury to Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Aston Villa played fairly well as Emery made several changes hoping to find a consolation goal at least. However, they ended up with zero shots on target in the second period as the game ended 3-0 in Liverpool’s favor.On that note, let’s take a look at the five major talking points.
5 Dominik Szoboszlai gave Liverpool a dream start
The Reds won an early corner and Trent Alexander-Arnold stepped up to deliver the ball into the danger zone. His delivery beat everyone in the box and fell straight to Dominik Szoboszlai on the half-volley on the edge of the box. The Hungarian struck the ball sweetly with his left foot and it sailed into the bottom-right corner of the net, leaving the Aston Villa players stunned.
It was Szoboszlai’s first Premier League goal for the Reds since joining from RB Leipzig in the summer.The quality of the goal paired with it being scored after just three minutes gave the hosts the upper hand very early in the game. The Liverpool faithful were roaring after the goal and the team played with more spirit and urgency.
4 Matty Cash’s own goal put Aston Villa under tremendous pressure
Aston Villa held their shape fairly well as they tried to withstand Liverpool’s onslaught having taken an early lead. However, it took one long ball from the Reds’ own half to dismantle the visitors’ backline as Mohamed Salah found space on the right flank.
The Egyptian’s low cross found Darwin Nunez inside the box, whose first-time effort rifled off the post and fell right into Matty Cash’s path. With nowhere to go, he awkwardly bundled the ball into his own net as there was no time to sort his feet out. Liverpool led 2-0 with 22 minutes on the clock.
3 The Nunez-Salah combo finally bears fruit
Having seen his effort ricochet off the post earlier in the game, Darwin Nunez played with a spring in his step as he found acres of space in wide areas. The pass for that chance came from Mohamed Salah. The pair’s runs unsettled Aston Villa’s defense and caused them problems throughout the game.
Andrew Robertson delivered a corner from the left side which Nunez cushioned towards Salah at the far post. The Egyptian did what he does best and tucked it into the net for an easy goal to make it 3-0 after 55 minutes.
2 Alexander-Arnold was subbed off after an injury
Liverpool’s stand-in captain in place of the suspended Virgil van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold had a great game. He was incredible on the ball and assisted his team’s opener just three minutes into the game.
Trent passed the ball with 91% accuracy, including five key passes, eight long balls and two crosses. He also attempted two shots and made two interceptions. However, his night was cut short midway through the second period and he was replaced by Jarell Quansah.
1 Liverpool managed their intensity perfectly to phase out Aston Villa
Jurgen Klopp’s teams over the years have been notorious for their Gegenpressing, a high-pressing style aimed at smothering the opponent’s ball progression. Liverpool deployed this tactic perfectly in the first half as they pressed high up the pitch and ended up with 70% of the ball. They also scored two goals to give them a comfortable lead.
However, the second half was a different story for the Reds. Having added a third courtesy of Mo Salah just 10 minutes after the restart, they were content to hold shape and concede possession to Aston Villa. The possession stats for the second period were fairly even but Liverpool shut up shop and did not allow a single shot on target.In the end, Klopp’s men walked away with the three points after a 3-0 win.