Three days removed from a humiliating collapse against Manchester City, a labored Reds side left it until late to put Villa away via a Sadio Mané strike. Academy graduate, Curtis Jones then sealed the points, scoring within five minutes of arriving on the pitch to celebrate his newly-penned deal.
Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp commended the 19-year-old for his first Premier League goal:
“Curtis has the qualities but he [puts himself] in good positions,” the German manager said speaking to Sky Sports after the game. “He has a first situation when he came on where he had a dribble and a shot, which is something I like.
“In the next situation…he’s in the six-yard box. That’s his strength. He wants to be there and he wants to be decisive.
“He deserves the goal and I am really happy for him.”
Klopp on Curtis Jones' contribution: "That's Curtis in a nutshell! He signed a new contract yesterday which is good for him and good for us. We'll have a lot of fun with him."— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) July 5, 2020
The score line flattered his side slightly, threatening at times to mirror the reverse fixture in which the Reds needed a dramatic extra time double to overturn a deficit to the relegation battlers.
“Very difficult game for various reasons,” Klopp admitted. “Aston Villa were very organized and made it tricky for us. They were fighting with all they had.
“It was not a brilliant performance, but was a good performance that earned us three points.”
The Reds get a three-day break before taking on Brighton, needing 12 points from 15 to break City’s record of 100 points.