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Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool: Mane keeps Reds’ hopes alive

Sadio Mane‘s knack for scoring winners at Villa Park continued as Liverpool came from behind to secure a valuable 2-1 victory against Aston Villa, keeping their faint title hopes alive.

Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool

Premier League (36), Villa Park
May 10, 2022


Douglas Luiz 3′
Joel Matip 6′
Sadio Mane 65′ (assist: Diaz)

With a misstep on the weekend, any margin for error was all but wiped away for Liverpool with nothing but perfection from here on out needed to keep pressure on Man City, at the very least.

Jurgen Klopp made five changes in search of a win, while a ready-made narrative was present with ex-Reds Steven Gerrard, Phillipe Coutinho and Danny Ings donning Aston Villa‘s colours.

Unlike the slow burner last time out, only a handful of minutes were needed to see this one erupt.

For the third game in succession, though, Liverpool conceded first with Douglas Luiz following in his header that spilt from Alisson‘s grasp.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Tuesday, May 10, 2022: Liverpool's Joel Matip scores the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A clear offside in the preceding move to Villa’s goal led to a sense of injustice, and Matip swiftly righted the earlier wrong with a close-range finish for 1-1 – Diogo Jota and Virgil van Dijk key in propelling the ball forward.

It did not stop Liverpool from flirting further with danger at the back with the match played at a frenetic pace, providing plenty of impetus for the Villa faithful and players.

A hamstring injury to Fabinho, who was making his seventh start in eight games, led to Jordan Henderson‘s introduction but concern remains for what it means for the Brazilian.

Closing out the half with the ascendency, Sadio Mane‘s header narrowly wide of the upright and Naby Keita‘s air swing were as close as the Reds came to adding another goal.

Half time: Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Tuesday, May 10, 2022: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' goes down injured during the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Joel Matip and Sadio Mane score for the Reds
  • Fabinho forced off with first-half hamstring injury
  • Reds remain second on goal difference, 3 behind City
  • FA Cup final next up for Klopp’s men

Liverpool enjoyed a more settled start to the second half than they had in the first, Trent Alexander-Arnold nearly brilliantly teeing up Luis Diaz as the right-back rose to prominence in an eye-catching second half.

And with the goal hunt ongoing, Klopp turned to Thiago from the bench in place of Curtis Jones.

The manager needn’t wait long with Thiago‘s midfield block triggering a push forward with Diaz putting it on a platter for Mane to head home – all reminiscent of that goal in 2019/20.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Tuesday, May 10, 2022: Liverpool's Sadio Mané (C) celebrates with team-mates captain Jordan Henderson (L) and Diogo Jota (R) after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alisson proved instrumental in blocking Danny Ings‘ path to goal to keep Liverpool’s lead intact as the push to create a buffer continued with Mohamed Salah‘s introduction.

The final moments were tense for the Liverpool faithful as the 90th minute loomed, but without further incident, it was three points added, and who knows how valuable they may be.

Now, Premier League action takes a backseat for Liverpool as the FA Cup final, the first since 2012, awaits against Chelsea on Saturday.

But that doesn’t mean Reds will not be hoping for a helping hand from Wolves and West Ham against Man City in the Premier League this week.

TIA Man of the Match: Sadio Mane

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Aston Villa: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne; McGinn, Nakamba (Chukwuemeka 62′), Douglas Luiz; Coutinho (Buendia 70′), Ings, Watkins (Traore 82′)

Subs not used: Olsen, Chambers, Chrisene, Young, Iroegbunam, Sanson

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho (Henderson 30′), Jones (Thiago 62′), Keita; Mane, Diaz (Salah 72′), Jota

Subs not used: Kelleher, Konate, Gomez, Milner, Origi, Firmino

Next Match: Chelsea (N) – FA Cup Final – Saturday, May 14, 4.45pm (BST)

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