Liverpool’s 100% record in the Premiership came to an end at Villa Park, but the 100% record of playing poorly continued.
In a match where Gerrard was absent and Torres injured his hamstring in the first half, Liverpool’s multi-millionaires failed to register a single shot on target.
It was poor poor stuff.
Liverpool lacked any kind of creativity and, in the end, can consider themselves fortunate to leave with a point after wasting an opportunity to go top of the Premiership.
With so much going on between the clubs over the summer, Martin O’Neill and Rafa exchanged a polite hand-shake before the match. Liverpool selected three central midfielders, Lucas, Mascherano and Alonso, adopting what appeared to be a more 4-5-1 formation than the 4-4-2 played since the start of the season.
A drab encounter opened up, and when Mascherano played a through ball to Torres, the Spaniard appeared to pull up clutching at his leg. The dreaded hamstring injury and Liverpool’s talismanic forward was substituted off.
David N’Gog arrived on to the field and was unlucky when he fired over after a nice set up from Keane. Liverpool posed little attacking threat, and Alonso even resorted to his trademark attempted lob from his own half.
Liverpool started the second half more brightly, Keane taking more of a central role, and Andreas Dossena is improving game by game. However Liverpool went off the boil and it was Villa who finished the stronger.
A proper bore draw. Liverpool are playing poorly, and without Gerrard and Torres, something must improve after the international break. Next up – Man United.
Post Match Reaction
“In the first-half both teams had more or less same opportunities and in the second half I thought we started well.
“In the last 15 minutes they were pushing quite a lot. It was a game that we could have won and so could they.
“It is not that we should have finished quicker. I think you have to give credit to the defenders.”
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Dossena, Kuyt (Aurelio 70), Alonso, Mascherano, Leiva Lucas, Keane (Benayoun 79), Torres (Ngog 30).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Agger, Babel, El Zhar.
Booked: Skrtel, Dossena.
Aston Villa: Friedel, Luke Young (Milner 64), Laursen, Davies, Shorey (Gardner 79), Reo-Coker, Petrov, Barry, Ashley Young, Carew, Agbonlahor.
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Harewood, Knight, Salifou, Routledge.
Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).