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Liverpool 0, Aston Villa 1: First Thoughts

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Liverpool returned from the first international break of the season to struggle against Aston Villa at Anfield once again in a desperately poor home defeat.

Please save us young Raheem. I'll never tell you "steady" again.
Please save us young Raheem. I'll never tell you "steady" again.
Alex Livesey

liverpool blog fc sbn

Liverpool 0
Aston Villa 1 Agbonlahor 9'

  • Adam Lallana made his first appearance for Liverpool while Lazar Marković made his first start for Liverpool. Mario Balotelli made his home debut, and Philippe Coutinho returned to the side after dropping to the bench against Tottenham Hotspur before the international break. Raheem Sterling was wisely rested after a World Cup, a good presasason three starts, and two international starts for England.

  • Liverpool seemed to have a few minutes of calm before madness ensued. Mamadou Sakho was careless in conceding a needless corner through a lack of composure before Dejan Lovren lost his man. Philippe Senderos header hit Javier Manquillo before dropping to the waiting feet of Gabriel Agbonlahor. Aston Villa take the lead at Anfield again. It was an exceptionally poor goal to concede early in the game, and Liverpool were very close to being 2 nil down a few minutes later after an unmarked Senderos headed over.

  • Liverpool had more of the ball but Aston Villa looked more of a unit. Disciplined defensively in terms of shape, reliably dangerous on set pieces, and ready to counter. Brendan Rodgers' side lacked its customary cohesion in attack and played without its usual familiarity. Is it the curse of Aston Villa and the first half at Anfield or the natural consequence of players in attack who are unfamiliar with each other?

  • A  few words on Mario Balotelli's conduct and temperament. He was impeccable in the first half despite some rotten challenges from Philippe Senderos and Alan Hutton, Senderson in particular. There was no reaction in the aftermath just a grimace or two before getting up to continue with the game. 

  • Liverpool took the initiative in the second half but by the hour mark, there was still no breakthrough for the equaliser. Raheem Sterling's introduction for Adam Lallana on 60 minutes seemed to briefly lift Liverpool's tempo. However, Liverpool lacked a little patience needed in the final third and the right passes weren't being made. In fact, Brad Guzan was hardly tested by Liverpool shots and Nathan Baker was probably the game's best player.

  • Aside from Philippe Coutinho hitting the post, and Henderson getting in the way of Raheem Sterling's possibly goalbound follow up, Liverpool didn't create much against what looks to be a side that has the measure of Liverpool at Anfield. Brendan Rodgers has failed to organise a Liverpool side to best Paul Lambert's side once again.

  • Poor, poor, poor.

liverpool blog fc sbn

We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.