Liverpool’s season ended in disappointment with their second straight defeat as they missed out on European football thanks to a Stewart Downing first half strike.
Liverpool’s Premier League campaign reached it’s end against in form Aston Villa, and the team-news landed an immediate surprise with the inclusion of Joe Cole in a rare start for the reds.
The opening exchanges of the game were timid affairs – with the bulk of the excitement in the Liverpool supporters end of the ground – as the fans were joined by Steven Gerrard in the crowd.
The reds were forced in to a 10th minute reshuffle after Jay Spearing took the full force of Nigel Reo-Coker’s studs in to his right foot. The player hobbled off to be replaced by Jonjo Shelvey.
A brief spell of football resumed, with a Raul Meireles corner finding Lucas Leiva who fired goalbound, only to see the ball cleared just in front of the line.
Moments later a Petrov shot was blocked by Jamie Carragher, who then noticed blood pouring from above his eye. He headed off for some stitches as the reds rearranged the defence whilst temporarily down to 10 men.
With Carra back and bandaged up though, the reds almost immediately found themselves behind when Aurelio allowed a cross in for Stewart Downing to put Villa ahead just past the half hour.
Liverpool started the second half a little brighter and the game opened up. Meireles and Suarez both had glorious chances for the reds, but at the other end Darren Bent became more involved in the game.
Despite the more free-flowing nature of the second half there were no further goals in the game, and with Spurs and Birmingham drawing, the reds missed an opportunity to make it to 5th place.
A disappointing season for Liverpool ends with two defeats in the final two games, and the reds end the season on 58 points, five less than last season – albeit finishing a place higher in 6th.
Liverpool’s Premier League campaign is an exact replica of that of 2004/05 in terms of wins, draws and defeats. That season was Rafa’s first although the pain was eased a few weeks later with a European Cup victory in Istanbul.
Liverpool fans must now look ahead to the coming season, and hoping that we achieve much more than a dismal 25 points from our opening 20 matches.