Liverpool’s first Premier League game back after the winter World Cup had a mix of everything: complete control for a while, chances against, and a first-ever goal for a teenager.
Aston Villa 1-3 Liverpool
Premier League (15), Villa Park
December 26, 2022
Salah 05′ (assist: Robertson)
Van Dijk 37′ (assist: Salah)
There was an early chance from Andy Robertson‘s cross which saw Villa’s stand-in goalkeeper Robin Olsen collide with centre-back Tyrone Mings and from the resulting corner came the opening goal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold beautifully recycled the ball from the middle of the pitch, Robertson’s touch put the ball across goal for Mo Salah to finish.
It was 2-0 before half time when Van Dijk eventually finished from a corner, his left foot strike doubling the lead.
Half time: Aston Villa 0-2 Liverpool
- Salah equals Dalglish’s goal tally
- Robertson becomes top all-time PL defender for assists
- Bajcetic nets first ever goal
- Ben Doak gets PL debut from bench
- Reds sixth in the league
A superb run from Salah early in the second half almost resulted in a third, but the home side were on top in the opening exchanges after the break.
It was no surprise then, when Villa got a goal back via a header from Ollie Watkins just before the hour, heading home a cross from Douglas Luiz.
Another big chance arrived for Nunez when he raced away with 15 minutes to go, but again he couldn’t find the target and dragged his shot wide.
The 18-year-old showed great composure to collect the ball and finish past the defenders on the line.
Happy to have the three points in the bag, Klopp used the final minutes to give 17-year-old Ben Doak his debut from the bench.
The win, combined with Spurs’ draw earlier in the day, means Liverpool are five points behind fourth place with a game in hand.
Next up is an out-of-form Leicester at Anfield on Friday night.
TIA Man of the Match: Mo Salah
Referee: Paul Tierney
Subs not used: Kelleher, Phillips, Tsimikas, Carvalho
Aston Villa: Olsen; Young, Konsa, Mings, Digne; Kamara, McGinn, Luiz; Bailey, Watkins, Buendia
Subs: Marschall, Chambers, Bednarek, Cash, Dendoncker, Archer, Coutinho, K. Young, Ings
Next Match: Leicester (home, Friday 30 December)