Liverpool 2 - 1 Aston Villa
Liverpool: Salah 55’, Alexander-Arnold 90+1’
Aston Villa: Watkins 42’
Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota both start, but Sadio Mané only makes the bench in Klopp’s set up. Both Thiago and Naby Keita are on the bench, and Klopp has gone with the trusted midfield combination of Milner, Fabinho and Wijnaldum.
This game started strong with first Villa and then Liverpool with good chances. Mohamed Salah’s first effort is well saved by Martinez. And it’s about now when I realized the big news of the game: Alisson has shaved off his moustache. If it was that way for Real Madrid, I didn’t notice, but hopefully the removal of the sheet weight of the thing will help with his balance and overall center of gravity.
And again, Salah should have had Liverpool up 1-0, but after he gets past the keeper, his shot rolls wide of the far corner.
Liverpool look bright, but after good build up play, they can’t seem to aim their final shots at the target. It’s Firmino this time, who lets an excellent opportunity go to waste with a shot wide after good service from Trent Alexander-Arnold.
After half an hour, Villa have begun threatening. Alisson has been forced into several good saves in a row.
Goal :( Watkins 42’ - Liverpool fail to capitalize on some Aston Villa errors and pay for it on the other end. Ozan Kabak gives the ball straight to Luiz, who slides it to Watkins. The shot isn’t a particularly good one, but it gets past Alisson and into the back of the net.
Minutes later, on the other end, Firmino scores and refuses to even celebrate, because he knows the crap that’s about to happen. And sure enough, VAR rules the goal offside. I don’t know what advanced geometry they’re using to decide this, but fine. WHATEVER.
Liverpool go into the break down 1-0.
Did everyone have a good break? Just kidding, I’m sure you all spent it heavy drinking and being angry on Twitter. But time marches on, and we’re back for the second half.
GOALLLL! Salah 55’ - After coming back strong, Liverpool make the game level through Salah. Robertson’s shot is blocked by Martinez, right to the head of Salah, who puts it home.
Four minutes later, good news, VAR hasn’t taken back the goal.
My oh my, Liverpool get lucky. Trezeguet nearly tucks it neatly into the top corner, but the ball slams off the sidebar and stays out.
Wijnaldum and Firmino both off for Thiago and Mane respectively for the last 20 minutes. The referee has been busy, booking six people by the 80th minute — four Villa players and Robertson and Milner for Liverpool.
The Reds are getting no luck in the dying stages of this game, just as they need a burst of brilliance to snatch a winning goal.
Klopp’s final change will be Xherdan Shaqiri, on for Kabak in the 88th minute.
GOALLLLL! Alexander-Arnold 90+1’ - The goal Liverpool were searching for comes from Alexander-Arnold one minute into stoppage time. A beautiful strike, worthy to be a game winner, at the edge of the box from the right back.
Every game is a must win for the Reds from here out, and they just about did the business today. Alexander-Arnold won them a huge three points that leap-frogged Liverpool into the fourth place spot, at least temporarily.