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Digging Deeper Into Liverpool U21’s Loss to Aston Villa

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We take a shallow little dive into the events at Villa Park tonight.

Aston Villa v Liverpool FC - Carabao Cup: Quarter Final Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

It was a brutal scoreline that did not reflect the flow of the match particularly well, but Michael Critchley and his squad of cherubs will take it on the chin and consider it a learning experience, one in which the aforementioned youngsters acquitted themselves perfectly well. Below, we take a closer look at exactly what we mean by that.


Winners

Harvey Elliott: Do not misunderstand, every single one of the precious babies who took the pitch for Liverpool tonight is a priceless bundle of joy to be cherished forever, but Harvey Elliott. Good. Lordt. Not only did the former Fulham boy look dangerous every time he was on the ball and sat at the center of nearly everything the Reds created, not only did he cover ever blade of grass on that right side of the pitch, tracking back when needed and driving forward at every opportunity, but he even helped an injured Ki-Jana Hoever walk when the Dutchman had to hobble off in the 82nd minutes. We cry for the purity of our Harvey.

Those who have watched Elliott any time he has put on a red kit this season may not be surprised, but the degree to which he looks special every time he touches the ball is, quite frankly, remarkable, and should not be taken for granted. At 16, the youngest player every time he has stepped on a pitch for the past year, he should not be expected to be this good, and one can’t help but wonder what the next step in his development might be.

Losers

The Holte End: Olé-ing a squad of children who have played your fringe first teamers about even every time your side manages to string a dozen passes together is not a particularly good look for the sixth oldest club in the English league system, perhaps especially not when your team sits a single goal away from relegation.

Certainly, fans can sing about and do whatever they like in the stands, and there is a long and storied tradition of groups of supporters giving each other and the players stick over the course of a match. This particular behaviour on this particular occasion made them look like ridiculous assholes is all.


Fun With Numbers

11-14: The shot difference between the two sides. Certainly, not all shots are Shots, and the quality of the chances was definitely on the side of the hosts, but the Baby Reds deserved at least a goal or two, and on a regular night, probably would’ve gotten that.

19: The average age of the Liverpool starting eleven. B A B I E S.

9: The number of full internationals starting for Aston Villa. @Good job, lads@

737: The sum total of Liverpool’s starting XI squad numbers on the night. Bonus: The substitutes added up to 552.

11.4.20: The date on which Aston Villa travel to Anfield in an attempt to hang on to their Premier League spot, and on which the Reds hopefully deliver the death blow that ends those hopes. Yes, I am petty, and no, that doesn’t bother me at all.


What Happens Next

At the time of writing, Liverpool’s first team are 19 hours away from kick-off in Qatar (Booo!!), where they will take on CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey and... Vincent Janssen, somehow? Okay. At any rate, the Liga MX side beat Al Sadd in the quarter finals on Saturday and will undoubtedly be fired up for the prestige clash with the Champions of Europe.

Assuming the Reds get through their semi-finals, they will be facing Flamengo to decide the winner of the Club World Cup on Saturday, after the Brazilians defeated Al-Hilal 3-1 earlier today. A historic CWC title is on the line, and hopefully Jürgen Klopp’s men can continue the astounding form they’ve established in their domestic campaign.