The first hour of Liverpool’s match against Aston Villa on Sunday wasn’t exactly thrilling entertainment. In fact, between Villa setting up to defend, Liverpool’s attack looking out of sorts, and the lack of fans it was downright unwatchable at times.
In the end, though, Liverpool are the 23-points-clear Premier League champions and Aston Villa are in the thick of a relegation fight. And so in the end, Liverpool’s talent came through and the Reds took recorded a comfortable-looking 2-0 final scoreline.
“We managed to bounce back today,” left back Andy Robertson noted. “It might not have been the best performance in the first half but you are playing against a team that is fighting for their lives and relegation and I know how that feels.
“When you do that you need to match their fight and you need to match their endeavour, and it took a bit of time for any sort of quality to shine through in that game. But once it did, then we were the ones doing it and we managed to capitalise on that.”
It’s hard to know exactly what to take away from it, perhaps, with Liverpool having already comfortably wrapped up the league, but if nothing else it served as a reminder of this side’s ability to buckle down and get results when they aren’t at their best.
By comparison, Manchester City ended the weekend 23 points behind the Reds in second place after they dominated Southampton but lost 1-0 to the mid-table side, victims again of lapses in concentration and a failure to convert their chances.
“That’s why we are champions,” Robertson added of Liverpool’s proven ability to fight for results this season. “When sometimes times are tough we dig even deeper and some teams might have been thinking, ‘OK, it’s not our day’ in the first half.
“I didn’t think we played badly but they put up a good defensive block, they had a couple of chances themselves, and some teams crumble under that—but not us. We managed to hold our nerve.”