Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa
Premier League (33), Anfield
July 5, 2020
Mane 71′ (assist – Keita)
Jones 89′ (assist – Salah)
Following another guard of honour, which will be the case for the rest of the campaign, the Reds looked for a swift response to their Etihad humbling, and saw an early penalty call waved away as Mo Salah was brought down.
The most notable incident of a tepid first half-hour came on 5pm, when the canned applause was amped up in a strange gesture to the NHS on its 72nd birthday, at which point Liverpool had yet to record a shot on target.
First to ‘test’ the returning Pepe Reina was Salah, who looked to take down Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s chipped pass with a first-time volley, but it was light work for the ‘keeper on his first game as a visitor at Anfield since 2001.
Reina and Alisson hoofed the ball back and forth to herald the end of the first half, which saw Liverpool foul Jack Grealish more times than they created chances.
HT: Liverpool 0-0 Aston Villa
- Liverpool extend unbeaten league run at Anfield to 57 games
- 24 league wins in a row at Anfield; last points dropped January 2019
- Jones scores first Premier League goal in third appearance
- Mane now scored 20 in three consecutive seasons, and 50 for LFC at Anfield
The two sides re-emerged to the sound of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir, with Jurgen Klopp hoping his Reds wouldn’t be as soft a touch in the second half as they were in the first.
Alisson was called into action a number of times in the first 10 minutes, while two deliveries from the right—one from Alexander-Arnold and the other from an otherwise off-colour Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain—at least troubled Reina.
Clearly not convinced with the performance unfolding, Klopp made a triple substitution as Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino saw their stints on the bench cut short in an effort to salvage another lethargic showing.
All three were involved in the move that eventually saw George Sephton blasting Blur’s Song 2 in celebration, with Naby Keita threading a brilliant pass through for Mane to hammer in via the crossbar.
Jones was sent on to mark his new five-year contract, and within five minutes he had scored his first Premier League goal to ensure the three points were Liverpool’s.
TIA Man of the Match: Sadio Mane
Referee: Paul Tierney
Subs not used: Adrian, Shaqiri, Elliott, Minamino
Aston Villa: Reina; Konsa, Hause, Mings, Taylor; Luiz, McGinn; El Ghazi (Jota 74′), Grealish, Trezeguet (Vassilev 84′), Davis (Samatta 74′)
Subs not used: Nyland, Guilbert, Elmohamady, Nakamba, Hourihane, Lansbury