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Liverpool 1-1 Aston Villa
Saturday, 7th April 2012
Relegation candidates Aston Villa were the latest side to inflict misery on Liverpool with Luis Suarez’s late goal rescuing a point for the Reds.
It means Kenny Dalglish’s men have collected just 4 points from their last eight games, dropping 20 points in total.
The result sees yet another team in the relegation dogfight cause the Reds problems, after recent defeats to Wigan and QPR in recent weeks.
With Pepe Reina suspended following his red card against Newcastle last Sunday, Brazilian goalkeeper Alexander Doni made his debut in goal.
Dirk Kuyt was preferred to Andy Carroll to partner Luis Suarez up front, whilst Jonjo Shelvey, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing made up the midfield alongside Steven Gerrard.
Anfield observed a minute’s thought before the game in tribute of the 96 Liverpool fans that lost their lives in the Hillsborough Disaster of 1989. Both sides wore black armbands.
It was a dismal start for newcomer Doni, who mistimed coming to collect a cross which eventually allowed Villa to fire home the game’s opener. Chris Herd firing through a crowd of players from the edge of the area.
Though Liverpool attacked and kept possession well, it looked increasingly as the game went on that it would be one of those days.
Kuyt stretched for a ball at the death of the first half and somehow ballooned a shot at an open goal form a yard out way, way over. Suarez hit the post with a header that was then spooned away by Villa keeper Shay Given.
The second half saw the introduction of Craig Bellamy, Andy Carroll and a welcome return for Daniel Agger from injury – and eventually, nine minutes from time Liverpool had a stroke of luck.
Gerrard’s ball in to the back post was knocked back across goal strongly by Agger and Suarez was on hand head home right in front of goal for his eighth goal of the season.
Liverpool’s performance was then boosted by the equaliser and this was followed by a flurry of action towards the Aston Villa goal in the final ten minutes.
Steven Gerrard’s late drive from inside the area was finely saved by Given, before Agger went close when the ball ricocheted around the Villa penalty area.
The Kop watched as the clock ticked down as a total of 19 shots from Liverpool went wayward. Groans and frustrations mounted from the home support.
It will be looked at as another very disappointing result for Liverpool, despite an open and positive performance from both sides.