Klopp’s Reds and travelling Kop in emphatic display – 5 talking points from Aston Villa 0-6 Liverpool

14.02.2016


Liverpool returned to winning ways with a 6-0 mauling of Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon, and Jack Lusby was at Villa Park to take five talking points.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 14, 2016: Liverpool's Kolo Toure celebrates scoring the sixth goal against Aston Villa during the Premier League match at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After a deflating 2-1 defeat to West Ham United in Tuesday night’s FA Cup fourth-round replay, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool found their shooting boots on their return to the Premier League.

Leaving Mark Bunn and his defence flatfooted over 90 minutes of frenetic attacking football, Liverpool overwhelmed a beleaguered Villa on their own turf.

Though still way off the mark in the race for a top-four finish, this victory could prove a statement of intent for the Reds, in what was a remarkable afternoon of top-flight football.

Here are five talking points from Liverpool’s 6-0 win away to Aston Villa.

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James Milner Suited to the Wide Role

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 14, 2016: Liverpool's James Milner in action against Aston Villa during the Premier League match at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

James Milner’s arrival at Liverpool last summer saw the former Villa midfielder lauded as the ideal replacement to the departing Steven Gerrard; his consistency, quality and experience suggested this was a sensible move by Brendan Rodgers.

But what both player and manager seemingly failed to acknowledge was where Milner’s quality truly lies.

This is something that Klopp has worked to uncover, and with the 30-year-old now regularly stationed on the flanks of the German’s 4-2-3-1 formation, his performances have undoubtedly improved.

Milner’s industry allowed Liverpool to push ex-Reds loanee Aly Cissokho back into the defensive sector, magnifying the left-back’s flaws, and his delivery from wide areas proved invaluable.

With two goals and three assists in his last six Premier League appearances—all coming on the wing—Milner seems to have rediscovered his best position under Klopp.


 

Coutinho-Firmino-Sturridge Trio Primed For Success

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 14, 2016: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the first goal against Aston Villa during the Premier League match at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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With Milner performing efficiently in his role on the right-hand side of Klopp’s 4-2-3-1, all eyes were on his attacking colleagues, and Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge all impressed.

Coutinho was at his creative best, complete with no-look passes and incisive one-touch play, and with Firmino dropping into the No. 10 role on Sturridge’s return, the trio’s fluid attacking play overwhelmed a flimsy Villa defence.

That this was the first time Coutinho, Firmino and Sturridge had been deployed alongside each other is a testament to their individual quality.

More encouraging is that this trio—fitness pending—will continue to develop an understanding, and supporters can look forward to more effective displays from Liverpool’s attacking line.

In Coutinho, Firmino and Sturridge, Liverpool have a set of genuine, top-level forwards, able to thrive in a number of roles and systems; Klopp will now build around this quality, and should reap the benefits.

 

New Goalscoring Record a Sign of the Times for Klopp’s Liverpool

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 14, 2016: Liverpool's Kolo Toure celebrates scoring the sixth goal against Aston Villa during the Premier League match at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Remarkably, Kolo Toure’s 71st-minute header was a record breaker: with the Ivorian adding his name to the scoresheet, among five others, Liverpool’s number of unique goalscorers for the season reached 19—the most in the club’s long and storied history.

Aside from regular fixtures such as Sturridge and Coutinho, Toure is among the more obscure names on this list, joining the likes of Brad Smith, Sheyi Ojo and Jerome Sinclair.

Although Klopp called for more goals from other areas of the field shortly after his arrival as Liverpool manager, this is likely far from what he expected.


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Instead, this wide-ranging list of goalscorers is indicative of Liverpool’s confused 2015/16 campaign, with both Rodgers and Klopp utilising a number of fringe figures out of necessity.

No doubt Klopp would prefer a single, 20-goal striker, and with Sturridge returning to the fold, the German can now look for stability in his squad—and more consistent, goalscoring success.

 

Stewart Debut Hints at Long-Term Role

EXETER, ENGLAND - Friday, January 8, 2016: Liverpool's Kevin Stewart in action against Exeter City during the FA Cup 3rd Round match at St. James Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

At 22 years old and with muted loan spells with Cheltenham Town, Burton Albion and Swindon Town to his name, Kevin Stewart seemed unlikely to make an impression at Liverpool—despite signed a new, long-term contract at the beginning of 2015/16.

But having shone at the base of Klopp’s midfield in FA Cup encounters with Exeter City and West Ham, the former Tottenham Hotspur man was rewarded with a place on the substitutes’ bench at Villa Park.

With Liverpool 5-0 up and cruising, the German was able to bring Stewart on, replacing the impressive Coutinho, marking a significant milestone in the boyhood Red’s development.

Though Villa offered little in the way of resistance, Stewart performed with maturity and composure alongside Milner and Jordan Henderson in the midfield.

That he didn’t look out of place will have been encouraging for Klopp, who can now look to utilise Stewart throughout 2015/16 and—if he continues to impose himself—beyond.


 

Travelling Kop Produces Perfect Response to Ticket U-Turn

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 14, 2016: Liverpool's Divock Origi celebrates scoring the fourth goal against with a kiss from a supporter against Aston Villa during the Premier League match at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Their first outing since Fenway Sport Group’s decision to overturn their heavily criticised new ticketing structure, the onus was on the Liverpool support to build on their passionate showing in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland.

That day, 10,000 supporters walked out of Anfield in protest of the club’s perceived greed, and while a considerably smaller group were able to make the trip to Villa Park, their contribution was vital.

With much of the home support leaving the ground after just 58 minutes on Emre Can’s strike—Liverpool’s third—the travelling Kop’s calls echoed around Villa Park.

This show of passion and unwavering support is just why John W. Henry and Tom Werner will have been attracted to the club on a personal, fanatical level; long may it continue.

ASTON VILLA 0-6 LIVERPOOL

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58 COMMENTS

  1. Congratulations to Stewart on getting his Premier League debut – even though it was only as a substitute. Played a big part in nearly all 4 games in FA Cup before this so him getting a call in PL team is well deserved.

    • Boy has a great future ahead. Can see him being Can replacement for the league cups and fa cups. Brannagan being Hendos.

      That being said a world class DM would still be at the top of my summer shopping list… Imagine what an upgrade a Gundogen, Bender or Xhaka would make to this team?

        • Got a bit ahead of myself. He is not world class, not yet but has the potential – like a young raw Alonso.

          Truth is world class DM are out of our price range and lure except maybe Gundogen. We can;t realistically look at Busquets, Kross, Modric, Pogba, Koke and think we have a genuine chance of signing them or the money too…

          • Are Kroos, Pogba, Modric or Koke even defensive midfielders? Busquets surely is, but all those other guys are more in the attacking mould, no?

      • I’m sure we wont give 35mil for Xhaka.. Kante from Leicster could be available for 15mil or less, classy DM..

  2. No mention of Origi’s return? He looked good today too. He needs to stay healthy as well. In time, I think he’ll turn out really good.

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    • That was a very classy finish from our boy Divock..that he can score those type of goals are very positive signs for the future indeed. Because we can never truly bank on Sturridge’s fitness..what that goal showed me is that Divock can take some pressure off of the strike force when needed.

      We’re not in the most ideal moment with respect to our striker situation but I do feel it’s one that’s sustainable for the long term without Benteke.

      • Indeed. As Klopp has intimated earlier, the key is getting Divock to gain composure and the realisation that he doesn’t need to “show everything” every game. Keeping it simple and being direct is the name of the game. He has skills and mobility that also make him deadly coming in from wide. I look forward to his blossoming under Klopp.

    • I’m really hoping that he turns out to be our version of O. Giroud.
      Never a 20-25 goal man, but always at 10-15 goal man. Always.

  3. I have put my doc back on stand by…. Hoping this continues, before, I was liable to die of boredom, atleast now I can go out screaming.

  4. Agree on the comments about Origi. He looks to have the tools to become a complete striker. He has the speed and movement t stretch defenses. And to be honest he seems stronger and controls high balls much better than Benteke. His all around hold up play is much better. That kid is going to be good.

      • When Klopp says you’ll have fun with a player you get Divock, when Brendan says a player will excite fans you get Borini…. worlds apart.

    • What is quite interesting is that Origi is often preferred by the Belgian manager ahead of Benteke..He is still a development striker and one in which from various interviews looks as though he has a strong learning mentality in which he is looking to get better. Strong physically and looks will be mentally tougher with more experience and Klopp guidance. Technical end product and decision-making like a lot of players old or young needs improving. So far he looks very promising and at 10m looks now like a bargain buy

  5. Great win in a sense we scored lots of goals…
    But not sure any takeaways can be made bc opponents were too bad…
    still 3 points is nice.

  6. This is arguably our strongest XI and I think most of us are of the same opinion here, play this exact team against Augsburg on Thursday and hopefully get the job done away from home, rest them for the return leg on the 25th and keep them fresh for the League Cup final.

    • I could not agree more, City have Chelsea on Sunday when we will be back from what you could call an easy away trip in terms of travelling on Friday morning, then they have to go the Ukraine on Wednesday evening before the final where as we are at home (hopefully with a younger team playing the Thursday evening) and they face a long trip home. It is a must to go to Germany on Thursday and get 2 or more away goals, doing so would be a great help for the final.

  7. Great performance, nice result, well needed confidence boost.
    Still massive clear-out is needed. Sakho is so clumsy and nervous, and always tumbles.

  8. Pellegrini regularly used milner in the wide role. Saying that Klopp uncovered it is taking it too far. Milner prefers central role, but better at wider role, Klopp cud put him there cos he is not the that promised him a central role unlike BR.

  9. Almost wish we had won 2 nil and left something in the legs for matches to come. Knowing recent consistency issues – a goal drought could sadly be on the cards AGAIN……Hope not but we shall see.

    • I don’t think it works that way..if we happen to draw/lose games or not score in the immediate future then that will likely be due to lack of quality or tougher opposition in that game alone. Think this was a much welcome change and that maybe we could have scored 2-3 more in order to improve our goal difference further.

    • I’m not sure I completely agree with this perspective, but I can see this point applying differently.

      You know those pre-season friendlies where the last match is against a really poor team? The hope is that a cricket score is racked up in order to artificially boost team confidence. That was this game against Villa.

      Villa are such a poor side, and although the performance is something to be commended, it is not to be considered in such esteem that it ignores the quality of the opponent, i.e. it needs to be taken down a peg – until wherefore, it is done consistently and against quality opponents.

      Still, such a victory and the manner of which is welcome given the previous result. Confidence can be fleeting. Any sort of foundation to re-establish it is most welcome.

      • Fair comment JB. I am the last person to over examine a gift horse in the mouth – but call it what you like but the (suspected) misfortune after the Norwich game – Stoke, West Ham, Leicester and Sunderland that preceeded this HUGE result at Villa. A spring board I hope it is. But a hint of caution can not be bad….

      • At this stage of the season it is game by game and we can only play what is in front of us. We are now playing for pride in the PL and a win away is most welcome.

    • One thing’s for sure we’re FINALLY in the black on goal difference, it’s been 0 or negative most (if not all season), let’s hope it STAYS there for the rest of the season and if we can nab 5th spot off of Scum Utd then that’ll be all the better for me as far as I’m concerned!!

  10. Nice article, this love in for Stewart is confusing me a little though. I don’t have anything against the guy but Swindon supporters were by no means disappointed to see him go when we recalled him – I know he had a ligament injury there (so just 7 games) but that doesn’t explain their apathy towards him in light of the overwhelming air of positivity we are now holding him in. Is our view being coloured by the fact that he’s young, or we have very few DM options? I dunno.

    An interview with a Swindon supporter on his time there would be interesting. Or if there was someone here who could shed a little light on his time there aside from the cold figures…

    • He had a good game against West Ham and that means he is our future, I dont buy it. I think you are right, people just want a replacement for Lucas and our lack of cover in the DM area is frustrating.

  11. I had a feeling Danny Ings would have been the signing of the season were it not for the long-term injury. But Danny Ings would have been on the same level as Vardy, trust me, if he had the suitable set-up around him.

  12. I concur on your take on Milner’s natural role in a Klopp team and am glad Klopp has elected not to deploy him centrally. At one point following his transfer from Man City, I recall rumour of a contractual clause stipulating playing time and position. Using his engine to cover for advanced wing-backs and crossing from wide are two areas in which he can contribute even more. Further, I would like him to show greater on-pitch leadership to justify his club vice-captaincy.

  13. I think Milner’s success had more to do with the woeful quality of Villa (it was generally as if you were playing a 5-year-old at Fifa). As for Stewart, I still don’t see him breaking into the first team anytime soon.

  14. I think Klopp will use (and is using) Milner like he did Grosskreutz at Dortmund…valuable, versatile utility player who always puts in a shift.

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