Liverpool 1-3 Aston Villa

Premier League
Monday 24 August 2009 - 8:00 pm
3Aston Villa
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Liverpool sank to their 2nd defeat in the opening three Premiership games – matching the number of defeat accrued in the entire season last time round with an insipid display at Anfield.

The reds can look harshly at the referee but a free kick, a corner and giving away a foolish penalty saw an end to any chance of Liverpool collecting points from this game.

Aston Villa’s defence and Brad Friedel put up a magnificent rear-guard action as Liverpool suffered the same old problem of failing to break down teams at Anfield.

It all started so well when within the first minute Benayoun’s header went narrowly wide and minutes later a goal-line scramble was eventually defended by the Villans thanks to Brad Friedel’s outstretched leg.

Liverpool were giving away some needless set-pieces, just like against Stoke, but Villa’s first was against the run of play. A free kick was awarded to them outside the box and Luke Young’s cross was inadvertently headed in by Lucas Leiva.

And as Liverpool went for the equaliser a critical decision went against the reds. With the recommended injury time over, Villa were awarded a corner which looked like it should have been a goal kick. Reina was so infuriated by the decision that he earned himself a yellow card by kicking the ball away. From the corner Curtis Davies outjumped Carragher and Gerrard to head the ball home.

HT: 0-2

The second half, meekly inspired by a slightly more awake Anfield, Liverpool dominated.  The first 15 minutes saw a barrage of chances for the reds as red waves funnelled towards the Kop. But Villa’s defence and Brad Friedel held firm in this testing period.

Friedel tipped over, Kuyt headed the ball on to the post, and then in the 72nd minute Fernando Torres put the ball in the net after an excellent cross from Emiliano Insua.

But just as Liverpool had a chance of getting back in the game Steven Gerrard gave away a penalty after bringing down Reo Coker and Young fired home from the spot.

Gerrard gives away a penalty against Villa

Liverpool had changed their system to 4-4-2. Gerrard dropping back to midfield to make way for another striker.

But Liverpool’s bench is too weak. When you are relying on players like Ryan Babel and Andriy Voronin to get you out of trouble then you know something has gone wrong in Liverpool’s summer of transfers.

Our Man of the Match

Nobody had a particularly fine game for the reds. By a narrow margin we’ve plumped for Javier Mascherano. (Vote for your man of the match here in the forum)

Post Match Comments

Rafa Benitez:

“We now know that we have to go to Bolton on Saturday and win.”Everything could change if we do that, our confidence will improve.

“This squad is virtually the same as last season so I believe it is good enough to mount a title challenge.”

“We were not playing well, and we were up against a team who are excellent on the counter-attack.”Their goalkeeper Brad Friedel made some great saves, but when that happens we just have to make more chances.

“We will have to sit down and analyse every player now, and make sure we do the right things in our next match. But our senior players must take more responsibility.”

“In the first 20 minutes we created plenty of chances and played well,” he explained. “Then we conceded the own goal and started to make more mistakes.

“We have lost and we know we have to improve. I felt we had a chance when Torres scored, but the penalty finished it. It was a clear penalty.”

Team News

Liverpool: Reina, Insua, Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson, Gerrard , Benayoun (Babel 75), Leiva (Voronin 66), Mascherano, Kuyt, Torres

Subs not used: Cavalieri, Kelly, Dossena, Ayala, Riera

Goals: Torres 72

Booked: Reina, Skrtel, Torres

Aston Villa: Friedel, Davies, Shorey, Beye, Cuellar, Sidwell, Young (Heskey 80), Milner, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Agbonlahor

Subs not used: Guzan, Albrighton, Delph, Gardner, Lowry, Delfouneso

Goals: Lucas (og 34), Davies (45+2), Young (75)

Yellow cards: Young, Reo-Coker

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Attendance: 43,667

19 comments on
Liverpool 1-3 Aston Villa

  1. season over before its begun. lucus needs shot stephen gerarad needs to pull his socks up and torres wants to stop getting on like a spoilt child. one more bad result and benitez has to be sacked

    • Support man city then you Idiot. yes we are playing under par but talking about sacking the manager foolish talk who would come in with the quality and dedication of rafa? You could search the planet and find no one with rafa’s qualitys if anyone is to blame to certain yanks tossers spring to mind. To be the best in the prem you need money and lots of it clearly we dont have the sort of budget rafa requires but were three games into a new season lets judge are position in may.

  2. I think a good starting point for Rafa would be to put his strongest side out each week and aim to get better balance in the side. On Monday we were poor but much of this poorness stemmed from the fact that we were so horribly disjointed. Personally, and this is only my opinion, I think Gerrard needs to go back alongside Masch, at least until Aquilani is fit. We had nothing creative in the middle of the park on Monday. Both Lucas and Masch played far too deep and netiher of them is capable of making long passes to launch quick direct attacks. Gerrard can do this. Neither Masch nor Lucas are capable of getting into the opposition box and get on the end of something. Gerrard can do this. Gerrard as a centre midfield player would at least play a bit further forward than Lucas or Masch and this would have naturally stretched the game for us a little. I also don’t think we should underestimate the loss of Agger at the heart of our defence. He’s one of the only premiership centre backs capable of bringing the ball out from the back. He too is capable of making long passes and he can shoot. When he strides forward he serves to give us extra numbers in midfield helping to outnumber the opposition and release Gerrard from the shackles that Petrov, Sidwell and Reo-coker had on him.

    We had a serious lack of width on Monday. Rather than play Benayoun (not really a winger and right footed) on the left, surely it would have made more sense playing Riera? Insua struggled to get forward. I feel Riera’s natural ability to play wide would have helped us down the left. I think it would make more sense to have played Benayoun on the right. Benayoun isn’t really a wide player, but with Johnson behind him providing the width, he wouldn’t have to play like a winger. He would have had more freedom to drift inside and create something in the way that we all know he can. The key to this all of course is balance.

    Finally, I think it is worth considering pairing Kuyt with Torres. In the Spurs and Villa game particulalry, Torres often found himself outnumbered when in possession and often on the receiving end of some rough treatment. This stands to reason when you consider he was up there on his own. Kuyt could help him by taking some of the physical pressure off Torres. Kuyt is big, strong, good in the air and will run all day. He could do Torres’ donkey work and take the rough treatment. He’s also intelligent enough to take defenders away from spaces that Torres can exploit. His goal record isn’t spectacular, but he gave a good return last season from the right flank. He wouldn’t be up there to be prolific. He’d be up there to help Torres and give us an out ball. He’s a great outlet becuase he’s prepared to run all day.

  3. We got exactly what we deserved so let’s not take anything away from Villa.We can’t afford but need more star players because many in the current team are simply not good enough and the bench looks incredibly weak too.Ng’o,Voronin and others won’t scare any opposition so let’s stop kidding ourselves,we should give kids like Pacheco a chance for afterall he can’t do any worse then many of our expensive flops.

    Talking of which Babel has had more then enough chances to prove himself so we shouldn’t expect miracles from him or Lucas for that matter.On “This is Anfield” Ian St John kept insisting “don’t panic” as it’s only the third game of the season but that is exactly why fans like i are so disheartened because we’ve still to play the real top sides yet have lost twice already!.Fact is that we’re not good enough to win the league because we havn’t strengthened the first team where as the likes of Spurs and Man City have thus in my opinion we’re already fighting for a top four finish.

    It’s frustrating….it’s depressing but nothing will change until the Americans are thrown out even if we do sign a half decent player we’d be covering cracks with wallpaper!.All this negativity behind the scenes that the fans are not exposed too reflects on the field of play then manifests into us being defeated by teams that we should walk over.

  4. I know one man dosen’t make a team but it is starting to show Alonso is going to be missed and the only replacement for him is Lucas. And then the best substitutes you have to bring on are Voronin and Bable. I think we all need to start praying, a lot !!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Anyone else got dajavu here ? remember when we came second last time ?. We lost important players and didn’t replace them ( Alonso / Hyypia this time around) We had two clowns in charge of the club ( Hicks / Gillette this time around ) and we ended up having a crap season !!! were is the progress here ? were is the £20 mil promised to rafa ?, why did rafa get a player to replace alonso who is more likely to be up to speed next season not this one ? ( when we need to be pushing on this season ? don’t we ? ) . It just seems to me that were always playing catch up, going in circles and this season we shouldn’t be , manure are weaker , and chelsea n arsenal have not added anything significant. This should be our season ! so why when we have a real chance do we go backwards ???.
    I know it’s only two games but if we carry on like this we wont need to bother playing the second half of the season, cum on lads !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! sort it out !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. I agree.. Lucas and Bable are very poor, maybe Bable needs to play more but I think we should get rid while we can…… if we can….. who the hell would want them at the moment….. Insua is coming on though, but will it be quick enough before any chance at a title has gone. I am already getting the jibes that last season was a fluke. The whole team were poor… lets hope this was a good kick up the ass

  7. Lucas WHO??? Why is he in the starting line up? What did he contribute to our team? A free kick & an own goal. How are we going to compete with the other big team? Look at our substitution player & compare with Arsenal, Chelsea, Man U and even Man City. We are lacking world class players. Teams that play against us just have to take care of Gerrard & Torres. And they will have a good chance to get a result against us.
    With Lucas playing we will not win the EPL. Time wait for no man, we cannot wait for Lucas to become a world class player. Please help the us, if this still go on & on we can forget about winning the EPL.

  8. Firstly, I think Rafa must go now. The worst thing to happen for us, was to win Champs League. What followed was unrealistic title ambitions. We’re not that good, that’s the be all and end all. People can have a go at me, but i say it as i see it. We won’t finish in top 5. Rafa blames everyone bar himself. He has signed players who just aren’t good enough. Babel, no, Lucas,no, Riera,no, just to name a few. Torres spends more time moaning to refs, or fixig his alice band. Something is not right with Stevie G. Half time v Villa where was his captaincy? A couple of claps of his hands, wow, that’ll really get them going. Where was Istanbul spirit? We’re stuck with Yanks. There’s no cavalry coming over the hill to save us. If it was going to happen, it would be done by now.
    Mediocrity is the order of the day. Liverpool have to understand that we can’t compete with the big boys. We just don’t have the financial clout.
    We need a manager to put a smile back on all our faces, not frowns. We need a manager to play attractive, free–flowing football, not this garbage. We need a manager with an ego the size of ours. Who’s available? My choice would be Mourinho. Idon’t think there’s anyone else who could do the job? What do you think ?

    • A man with the ego size of ours and you’re asking for Mourinho? Get real mate, he has the biggest ego in world football. He thinks he is god’s gift when he isn’t.

      I’m not Benitez’ biggest fan but I certainly wouldn’t be replacing him with Mourinho. Mourinho is simply the most unlike Liverpool man in world football.

      My choice, if Rafa was to leave, would be Martin Jol. I thought he did a great job at Spurs before the director of football started picking his signings and he did well last year in Germany. Shame he’s just taken the Ajax job though.

      As for the Villa game it was a joke. Lacked ideas, lacked quality all over the park (especially out wide) and conceded badly. What Rafa has to do now is see these players aren’t working and throw a youngster in. The Masch/Lucas partnership isn’t working so Rafa has to try dropping Gerrard back or putting Spearing in the side. That’s the only way forward.

  9. 2 pathectic displays one superb performance out of three,we can still turn things around we have the squad. we can come back but very puzzling to say the least.

  10. Continue to moan about the corner that was. Continue to moan about Friedel doing what he’s paid to do. Continue to neglect the fact that Villa played deep and allowed you to have so much posession in non dangerous areas of the pitch. Continue to ignore the fact you were out battled as demonstrated by Voronin pulling out of challenges. Continue to underestimate your opponents. Continue to think that Villa were lucky. This will not fix the lack of creativity in midfield or the wrong substitutions at the wrong time or hapless zonal marking. Continue to do all of these things and you will continue to wait for the Premiership title!

    • I completly agree. I know many people are dissapointed in the criticism babel is getting but we’ve waited two years to see him do something decent. Continuing to support second rate players wont see us winning the Premier League.

  11. It is excuse after after excuse set pieces. Why not defend set pieces like it should be defended. If Lucas Leiva and babel voronnin clearly not up to the job at anfield other than coming on as substitutes. Last year it was Albert Riera who played in the wings and was effective and scored as well why was he not playing. He can play better than Ryan Babbly who is clearly rubbish. Not to mention Lucas Leiva he does not come anywhere close to alonso at holding the ball and making accurate passes and he Alonso allowed Gerrard and Torres to play and score goals. It will be seen that there is no play maker in midfield to allow gerrard and torres to go forward. Unless this issue is addressed it will be very difficult this season to match last season. Liverpool lack ideas and creative play. Not only this but set pieces need sotiris or agger in there to control clearly mediocre players like lucas leiva must be in the subs bench and not start games.

  12. Bad result but 1-3 flattered Villa in all honesty. They didn’t manage to score in open play. Two set pieces and a penalty hardly count as chances created and converted. As for Liverpool, they were poor and void of ideas. Why play two holding midfield players together at home and use a right footed player on the left flank? Why only have one striker playing up top alone? Baffling really.

    Now most teams have got to grips with Gerrard playing in the hole we don’t have the creativity elsewhere on the pitch to create much. If Glen Johnson cut inside on his left foot once he must have done it a dozen times. Never once did he try and go down the outside and whip in a cross with his favoured right foot. Last night our lack of width was there for all to see. No wingers on the park means we were relying on the fullbacks to provide width. In fairness to Insua he got shackled out of the game and didn’t provide an attacking threat, but then he is 3rd choice behind Aurelio and Dossena and will get better as he learns his trade. But didn’t we buy Glen Johnson to add this extra dimension? Isn’t that why he cost so much money? He’s got pace and is clearly stronger than Ashley Young, yet the former Pompey man never once seemed willing to take Young on round the outside.

    That said, on another night Liverpool could have rattled in 5 or 6 goals. We found Brad Friedel in good if not inspired form and he made some important saves at crucial times. However, there is one thing that bothers me. Why is Gerrard our only player capable of shooting from outside the box? Tiemafter time the ball was teed up for Mascherano or Lucas but still that chose to play ‘safe’ sideways balls.

    So to sum up, we played poorly and were void of ideas when the Gerrard-Torres combination failed to materialise. We didn’t do enough from wide areas to trouble Villa and they caused us to play narrow in congested areas of the field. Without a player capable of passing the ball well, particularly long, we struggled to make headway with quick, direct attacks. However, we could quite easily have scored a hatful of goals had we converted our chances. Villa created few chances and failed to score from open play. not much to be pleased about but not the end of the world either

  13. ” Villa were awarded a corner which looked like it should have been a goal kick”

    Sorry but a liverpool player was the last to touch it, please dont make excuses like this, it was a corner fair and square.

    The free kick was a free kick, the corner was a corner and the penalty was a penalty. I admired Kuyts play much more than Torres, who seemed to fall like a sack of potatoes every time a villa player was within 5m of him.

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