We round-up the best newspaper reaction from Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park.
It was another good day at the office for Liverpool, and they are now unbeaten in eight games in all competitions. Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert’s goals were enough to earn Brendan Rodgers’ side all three points, but they had to see off a spirited Villa onslaught after the break.
Similarly to last weekend, the papers are beginning to realise Liverpool’s decline earlier in the season may have been exaggerated.
Ian Baker of The Telegraph discussed the Reds’ good form, highlighting the fact they still have three trophies and a top-four finish to play for this season:
It has been far from the convincing season that Liverpool’s high standards expected but a routine victory at Aston Villa suggests that it is one that could still end in Champions League football.
But it also takes it to eight matches unbeaten and with a Capital One Cup semi-final tie with Chelsea to look forward to on Tuesday, their season is still very much alive on several fronts.
Tim Rich of the Independent also hails Liverpool’s recent turnaround in fortunes:
A little more than a month ago, Brendan Rodgers was facing the kind of pressure that is wearing down the man in the opposite dug-out. Liverpool had been beaten badly by Manchester United, were hopelessly off the pace domestically, out of the Champions League and every other question was about Mario Balotelli.
Since that defeat at Old Trafford, Liverpool have not lost, largely because of the radical 3-4-3 formation that the Liverpool manager who admits to pacing the floor of his kitchen rolling tactics around his head, adopted.
History suggests Liverpool crumble when pressure is applied and this looked like the moment when they would concede.
Standing firm, though, was Simon Mignolet. Benteke may have unleashed fury from his right foot, smashing his drive towards the Holte End net, but Mignolet – so often lampooned for his mistakes – would not be beaten.
This was more like it. Mignolet has had a poor season, his low point coming when he was dropped for the December 15 trip to Old Trafford, but here was a performance to show why he was bought. For the first time in a long while, he exuded the authority of a Liverpool No 1.
The Liverpool Echo‘s Kristian Walsh declares, “How could Liverpool contemplate moving from three at the back after a run like this?”, outlining their sizeable improvements at the back in recent weeks:
Granted, the Reds were on the ropes for a fair portion of the second half. At one point, they had officially been declared under the cosh, with limbs and heads flying towards the ball in an effort to keep it out of the net, and keep the score to nil.
But they did it. Sometimes, defending isn’t about the artistic slide challenges and well-timed headers; sometimes, it simply involves clinging on, gritting teeth and not crumbling as the sledgehammer flies in.