“A proper St. Valentine’s Day massacre” – How the media reacted to Liverpool’s Aston Villa rout

on 15.02.2016


Following Liverpool’s brutal dismantling of relegation favourites Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon, we round up the best media reaction from the 6-0 win.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 14, 2016: Liverpool's Emre Can celebrates scoring the third goal against Aston Villa with team-mates during the Premier League match at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds turned in a stunning performance at Villa Park, hitting Remi Garde’s Championship-destined outfit for six.

Six different scorers inflicted Villa’s worst home defeat since 1935, with Daniel Sturridge, James Milner, Emre Can, Divock Origi, Nathaniel Clyne and a first goal for the club from Kolo Toure completing the rout.

The Reds displayed the blistering attack they now possess with such brutality, having key attackers Philippe Coutinho and Sturridge back, capping off an all-round dominant performance against an abysmal Villa.

It was a fantastic showing from Klopp’s men, who must now build on the success in the all-important Europa League campaign starting on Thursday night.

Here is how the media saw the game.

 

As expected, Sturridge dominated reports following his goal on his first start since December, and in particular his unrivalled importance to the team.

The Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe commented:

When Sturridge plays, everyone at Liverpool looks, feels and performs better. The England striker has the capacity to turn an ordinary team exceptional.

Sturridge’s movement enabled midfielders such as Emre Can to enjoy his most complete game for the club, and overlapping full-back Nathaniel Clyne to make the most of the empty spaces as Villa briefly, forlornly, considered the merits of trying to stop the onslaught.

Dominic King of the Daily Mail echoed that sentiment:


There had been no real pace to the game in the opening exchanges, with both teams weighing each other as boxers do in the first round, but Liverpool quickly realised what they were facing and made the first blow tell when Philippe Coutinho skipped down the right and crossed for Sturridge.

In the middle of the penalty area, with Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott nowhere to be seen, Sturridge calmly guided his header into the corner of the Holte End net before sprinting away to do his trademark celebration. One chance, one goal. That, at his best, is Sturridge in a nutshell.

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

Paul Joyce for the Sunday Express wrote:

If anyone really wonders why they will persist with Sturridge despite the various ailments and strains, which made this only his eighth start in the last 61 league games, here was the counter argument.

A forward who does not require a cluster of opportunities to make his mark is paramount and Sturridge, all clever movement and predatory instincts, wasted little time conjuring the breakthrough.

The Liverpool Echo’s Kristian Walsh said on this:

It is always dangerous to build on such brittle ground, but the Reds boss kept his word about only bringing him back when he was physically ready.

How ready he looks now. Alongside Coutinho and Firmino, the striker was sharp. There was a focal point to the attack. A presence that could drop deep and deal with the ball in behind, defenders’ nudges and all.

[…]

He only scored one, and it was just 3-0 when he departed, but his presence changed so much about this team – albeit against a side as poor as Aston Villa.

 

It was also discussed in reports how different Liverpool’s season could have been had Sturridge, Coutinho and Firmino been fit to play together throughout this season.

On this, King wrote:


How different might the league table look had Sturridge not missed so much football? He has been out so long it becomes easy to forget what quality he has but, in the 16th minute, the England international provided an emphatic reminder.

Bascombe added on the same subject:

The theory goes had this trio been fit for selection for most of the season – or for even half the number of games in which they’ve been missing – Liverpool would be pursuing a top-four position rather than striving for consistency in mid-table.

The evidence at Villa Park was compelling as Liverpool’s number ten crossed for the England striker for the opening goal and Klopp’s side was full of the imagination and dynamism so absent when their best players are not there. The only frustration for Liverpool is what might have been. There is a fine team somewhere at Anfield, but it’s not on the pitch enough.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 14, 2016: Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho flicks on James Milner free-kick to score the second goal against Aston Villa during the Premier League match at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Joyce also commented on the trio:

This was the first time Sturridge, Coutinho and Roberto Firmino had started a league game since Klopp’s arrival five months ago and his team selection, save the injured Dejan Lovren for Kolo Toure, may yet prove his preferred line-up for the Capital One Cup final against Manchester City in a fortnight.

What he must analyse is how much of the blitz of four goals soon after the break was down to scintillating play from the visitors and how much came from Villa’s insistence on self-destructing.

 

It was also noted that this resounding win came against a woeful Villa side, but the Reds were praised for being ruthless in their punishment, something they have lacked this season.

The Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce wrote:

Of course context is important. Not every opponent will be quite as accommodating as Remi Garde’s woeful Villa, who are destined for the Championship.

The Midlands outfit are in a horrible mess but glaring defensive weaknesses still need to be punished and that’s proved beyond the Reds far too often this term.

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

The Guardian’s Andy Hunter wrote:


On the flip side, Liverpool equalled their biggest winning margin away from home in the top flight but Jürgen Klopp had too much respect for his opponents’ suffering to revel in the rout. He could take greater satisfaction from Liverpool demonstrating that, with Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho available, they do have armoury to punish weak defending.

On this, King said:

Liverpool scored six to secure their biggest victory in any competition since April 2013 but did so without being particularly brilliant. Yes, they were ruthless when Villa began to submerge but this was not the best performance of the Jurgen Klopp reign by any means.

And Simon Hart in the Independent noted:

With six different Liverpool scorers, this was a proper St Valentine’s Day massacre.

For all the excellence of the returning Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, it is the spectacle of Villa falling apart that will linger in the memory.

ASTON VILLA 0-6 LIVERPOOL

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55 COMMENTS

  1. No Premier League player has contributed to more goals than Roberto Firmino in 2016.

    On the ascendancy and now finding consistency.

    • Matip has agreed to join us in the summer, pre contract agreed. Pretty much what I said should’ve been done instead of forking out £6m in January’s transfer window

          • It’s on everywhere now. The deal is done for sure.

            Matip reportedly turned down £64k pw at Schalke for £42k pw at Liverpool.

          • Great news, hopefully Matip, Gomez and Illori will really push Lovren and Sakho for CB starting places next season, with Clyne/Flanno and Moreno/Smith giving good options at full back and maybe (hopefully) Ward pushing Mignolet the defence looks a whole lot better already..

          • It seems a typical Klopp signing, similar to a lot of what he did at Dortmund, best of all Matip and Grujic will get full preseason with us…

          • Yeah spot on mate. Klopp can’t wait for pre-season. Hasn’t really had much time to purely concentrate on style of play etc with the packed fixture list.

          • The key word being ‘reportedly’ I can’t seriously believe anyone would actually release that information, still waiting for the club to announce the signing…

      • That was the plan all along. The issue was that we needed some CB stuff sorted with the injuries, so they tried to hasten the deal.

        With a fee paid the signing on fee and wages are generally lower so in the end it wouldn’t have cost us a whole lot more.

    • I am loving his contributions so far. It seems he ha finally settled. A combination of an in-form him, Coutinho and sturridge should be giving defenders and managers sleepless nights.

    • Told you so… wait not you, everyone else like Carr blah blah… The only flop is there tiny weeny weeners hanging sorrily and unused between their rancid legs…. Was the a bit much? can’t tell these days what’s ok and what’s not.

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  2. Genuinely believe that the front 3 yesterday is better than anything else in the division. Just got to keep them fit. Looking forward to the cup final, we scored 4 against City without Studge, so anything is possible!

  3. There is a fine team somewhere at Anfield, but it’s not on the pitch enough.

    – Injuries are part of football and we’ve had our share but to lose so many key players, well – hoping for a good run in and maybe Ward doing a Ter Stegen and getting the cups for the rest of the year.

        • Really? We’re 9pts off so given how bad we’ve been this year, I’d call that close, because in truth we should be at 15pts off

          • 38 points from 26 games…how is that in any way miraculous for a club like LFC even with injuries? 15 points off would have meant us on 32 points at this point of time. And no, 9 points off with 12 games to go isn’t being close to 4th spot. We’re 8th in the table at this moment and with good reason. Not saying it’s not possible but it certainly isn’t close. I’d be more focused on catching up with S’ton, United and West Ham before even looking at that target.

          • Sometimes I think you guys read what you want to read. I was not setting a target to catch or saying that our points haul is acceptable, I’m merely saying that given how rubbish a season we’ve had so far to even be within 9pts of 4th is a near miracle. I wasn’t saying we’re going to finish 4th

          • How is that a miracle though? I have to repeat – 38 points from 26 games isn’t the least bit miraculous in a good way(it could be in the opposite for some). Just have a look at our squad…some will say we should be challenging for the title given this squad given what Tottenham and Leicester have achieved with their respective squads. Yes injuries and fixture congestion has been bad this season, but given all the factors I’d still say we’ve underperformed, not overperformed and I think most would agree with me on that one.

            Injuries is no excuse for making mistakes at the back and conceding from set pieces and corners. And yes, all of this is a factor since you’re talking about points and position in the table.

          • Did you somehow missed the part where I said, “given how rubbish a season had so far?”… My comment wasn’t implying that we over performed, but rather underperformed.

            You know what, forget it because I think you’ve clearly misinterpreted what my point was.

  4. While we revel in victory, mocking Villa fans everywhere, maybe we should take a moment to remember Stoke…. Nah.. F”k that. wooaaaahhhhhh!

        • Heh naa mate…the whole country seems to be saying that though. The manager, out of respect, isn’t celebrating this win too much…it’s been quite apparent for the whole season now. If Villa fans were cocky then I’m fairly certain it was a long long time ago. They even had the decency to cheer for Benteke despite him leaving the club for them to end up in bottom place.

          • True, but they can see whatever they got, left with Benteke too and it’s gonna take a wee while for it too wear off……

  5. Sturridge is world-class, but this was not a game in which that shone through. Nor was it required. He played to about par against particularly accommodating opposition. The foundation and principal inspiration for our improved attacking performance was Coutinho’s work. If Coutinho and Firmino can maintain consistency and Sturridge remain fit, we stand more than a fair chance against virtually everyone.

    When CB and goalkeeping are also sorted, we will be a match for all comers.

  6. Now we know why COutinho was shooting like a mad, he knew there was no one intelligent and competent enough to get at the end of his through balls.
    With Sturridge back, one can proudly say the real coutinho is back ! kudos to klopp for the respect shown to Villa by letting Benteke come on. He wanted the score to remain as it was.

  7. Sturridge didn’t look comfortable at the start of the second half and during the second half. He was stretching/massaging his hip, hamstring etc. Hope is fine.

  8. Villa fan here.

    I’d like to say ‘thanks’ …. if anything is going to get the muppets at our club to see what they’ve done to it then Sunday was it. You did us a favour.

    I’d also like to say thank you to the travelling Liverpool supporters for not taking the opportunity to rub our noses in it on the day.

    One last thing. Don’t write Benteke off just yet. Having said that I don’t see how he’d fit into a side alongside Sturridge.

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