A late goal from Trent Alexander-Arnold curled Liverpool towards all three points at Anfield this afternoon.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa travelled to Anfield this afternoon, under the watchful eye of Gareth Southgate as they looked to make it back-to-back wins in the league against reigning champions Liverpool.
The game started in a frantic manner, with both sides offering high tempo, passing football. The first shot of the game came through Mo Salah, who fired a left-footed shot from the left-hand side of the box which was parried by Martinez.
Tyrone Mings was almost caught flat-footed for the second time in as many games in the 13th minute, as a poor touch allowed Salah through on goal, but the Egyptian’s poked shot slipped wide of the onrushing Emi Martinez and wide of the far post.
Several minutes later and Ezri Konsa forced Alisson into a save, heading an effort at the end of Matt Targett’s free-kick towards goal. Three minutes later and Konsa was booked for a cynical foul on Diogo Jota.
Liverpool’s start had been the brighter of the two, and the home side were knocking at the door a number of times in the opening half hour.
Three minutes before the end of the half, and Ollie Watkins continued his goalscoring form against Liverpool – racing onto the end of a John McGinn pass and firing past Alisson, who should have done better. The forward celebrated with a nod towards his partner, who is expecting their baby.
Liverpool equalised in the 47th minute, the second of added time, or so they thought. The goal was revoked after VAR decided that Jota was offside in the build-up after a period of scrutiny from Stockley Park.
The two sides went in at the break with Aston Villa leading.
Douglas Luiz was booked in the opening three minutes of the second half for blocking a free-kick from being taken quickly.
The game was incredibly scrappy and open during the early periods of the second half, with both sides making mistakes and allowing attacks into their final thirds.
In the 57th minute, Andy Robertson forced Emiliano Martinez into a strong save, but his palmed effort fell into the path of Mohammed Salah who was able to poke the ball into an open net after getting to the ball quicker than Tyrone Mings.
In the 62nd minute Trezeguet curled an effort with the outside of his right foot towards the far post, which spun into the post and back towards the Egyptian, who was only able to head the rebound effort wide from a tough angle.
James Milner was booked for a late challenge on Marvelous Nakamba in the 65th minute. Just after this, and Ross Barkley replaced the Zimbabwean midfielder. Three minutes later, and Bertrand Traore – who had picked up a knock – was replaced by Anwar El Ghazi.
In the 72nd minute, Matt Targett was booked for a challenge on Salah.
With ten minutes remaining, Jacob Ramsey replaced Trezeguet for Aston Villa’s third change of the afternoon.
Emiliano Martinez was forced into an exceptional save to deny Thiago, before the ball went to the edge of the box where Trent Alexander-Arnold – who had been struggling throughout the match – was able to curl it into the bottom right of the net and past Martinez.
The game ended with Liverpool victors.