Liverpool 3 - 0 Aston Villa
Jurgen Klopp has some selection headaches coming into this one. With Virgil van Dijk suspended, the centerbacks were always going to be Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. The midfield, however, is where the more interesting selections come in. The three of Alexis Mac Allister, Curtis Jones, and Dominik Szoboszlai get the nod. With no true defensive midfielder, it’ll be interesting to see how this goes.
And, of course, Darwin Nunez gets his first start of the season after his heroics last week.
The only thing missing for Liverpool in that half was a 3rd and 4th goal. The Reds were absolutely crushing Villa for 45 minutes and can feel hard done by not having more goals. Szoboszlai opened the scoring in the 3rd minute with an incredible strike from a corner kick. Liverpool were able to get a second in the 22nd minute by the way of a Matty Cash own goal, but the attacking move was really well worked. Darwin Nunez could’ve scored, but his shot ricocheted off the bar and then bounced off the Villa defender.
A word needs to be said about how well the Liverpool 3rd and 4th choice central defenders performed that half, Gomez in particular. Villa didn’t offer much in the way of attack, but when they did break through Gomez was there to put out the fires.
The second half started much like the first with Liverpool on the front foot. Salah scored the third goal for the Reds in the 55th minute off of a brilliant flick on from Nunez. That third goal really changed the complexity of the match with Villa basically surrendering at that point.
There’s a bit of worry for manager and fans alike as Trent Alexander-Arnold is subbed off in the 72nd minute with an apparent injury. Jarell Quansah subbed on and made his Anfield debut. Other than the injury to Trent, there wasn’t much for Liverpool to worry about in the second half. A calm and professional performance.
It really was a performance that makes you wonder what’s possible with this squad and this season. The attack might be the best in the country, and the midfield is so good. However, it’s the clean sheet and the performance from Gomez that’s the standout takeaway from this game. If he can play like this as the 3rd choice CB, the sky is the limit this season.