Liverpool 1-1 Aston Villa – The Frustration Continues

By Jonathan Carroll.

Liverpool put and end to their run of three consecutive defeats with a draw against Aston Villa at Anfield on Saturday. A minute’s silence was observed for the upcoming Hillsborough memorial on Sunday April 15th. Next weekend which will see Liverpool play against Everton in the FA Cup semi final the day before at Wembley.

An unfancied Villa side took a shock lead through a fine finish from Chris Herd after a well-timed pull back by Barry Bannan found Herd’s surging run unchecked by the Liverpool midfield and his finish was well angled away from Alexander Doni in goal. Prior to going one nil down Liverpool had asserted themselves well. Stewart Downing put in a great cross that Dirk Kuyt failed to finish and the home team looked dominant until the visitors scored. Once that happened, Jordan Henderson played very safe, playing sideways and backwards passes and rarely attempting a forward pass in fear of losing possession. Henderson wasn’t the only one playing safe and without much purpose, there was quite a few players that have been affected by the current loss of form. Playing at Wembley may be a blessing in disguise for most of the squad and the pressure of playing at Anfield.

The second half saw the home side once again lay siege to the opponent’s goal, a common theme this season. Most often these sieges do not result in finished chances but missed chances and so the themed continued. Luis Suarez and Craig Bellamy hit the woodwork for a total of thirty-four times in the season altogether. Staggering. According to Opta statistics (@OptaJoe on Twitter) if all these chances that hit the woodwork had gone in then Liverpool would have thirteen more points than they currently have and sit in  seventh spot level on points with Newcastle and Chelsea. With speculation aside Liverpool find themselves in a slump. Luis Suarez rescued the Redmen from an embarrassing home defeat when he headed home Daniel Agger’s far post headed after it hit the bar.

Many high profile players have failed to step up and be counted for this Liverpool side. It’s no longer a case of wait for Steven Gerrard to rescue the team, years of doing just that have taken its toll on the skipper. Players like Jose Enrique who started out the season in fine form now play in a fashion that shows how little confidence they have. Add to the list of underperforming players, Downing, Henderson, Carroll, Adam, Carragher, Kuyt and there’s little wonder Liverpool are in their current position

.

Players not performing, hitting the woodwork and bizarre refereeing decisions have all accumulated to work against Liverpool this season. Blaming referee decisions is a waste of time, every team is subject to bad referees but at times they can flabbergast you as Michael Oliver’s explanation to Dirk Kuyt yesterday as to why he failed to give a penalty against Eric Lihaj on Saturday. On this occasion said referee thought “the player was unlucky“. Quite a way to base how you decide vital decisions and another reason why referees should become full-time professionals.

The current league season is over as the body language of many first team players has already stated. The FA Cup will provide both players and fans will some welcome respite against an inform Everton team who will fancy their chances of getting one over their Merseyside neighbours. Indeed many Liverpool players should take this opportunity to perform on a national stage to rescue their Liverpool careers. Come seasons end the enquiry will begin. The Liverpool way should be adhered to, private enquiry and take action as necessary. This club cannot afford to become a “sacking club”. It is imperative that John Henry and Fenway Sports Group get it right, whatever conclusion they come to and there can only be two. Either back the manager for another season and right the wrongs of last summer’s transfer window or sack the manager and start again. The problem that rises with sacking the manager is who is going to come to Liverpool and do a better job with the current players? Kenny Dalglish knows that his sides current form isn’t acceptable. The manager has backed the players, they have let him down. The ultimate message to send the under performers would be to ship them out and replace them with new players. Regardless of whether they have been at the club for one or ten years. Unless Liverpool FC can act swiftly in the transfer market and sign players whose stock is on the rise (reference Athletic Bilbao and Newcastle United) then the club will once again miss out on the Champions League and the club will become ancient history. If John Henry decides the manager has to pay the ultimate price for his tactical shortcomings, team selections and mishandling of the Suarez saga then so be it but the club still finds itself in the same position. There is no Special One walking through the door anytime soon.

Liverpool

  • 32 Doni – 6
  • 03 Jose Enrique – 4 (Agger – 76′ )
  • 23 Carragher – 5
  • 37 Skrtel – 6
  • 38 Flanagan – 6
  • 08 Gerrard – 6
  • 14 Henderson – 3
  • 19 Downing – 6 (Carroll – 65′ ) – 6
  • 33 Shelvey – 7 (Bellamy – 65′ ) – 6
  • 07 Suarez – 7 (Booked)
  • 18 Kuyt- 6

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 05 Agger
  • 16 Coates
  • 11 Maxi
  • 20 Spearing
  • 09 Carroll
  • 39 Bellamy

Aston Villa

  • 01 Given – 8
  • 02 Hutton – 6
  • 03 Warnock – 6
  • 06 Collins – 7
  • 32 Baker – 6
  • 07 Ireland – 6
  • 25 Bannan – 7 (Carruthers – 86′ Booked )
  • 30 Lichaj – 6
  • 31 Herd – 7 (Weimann – 73′ )
  • 11 Agbonlahor – 6
  • 18 Heskey – 6 (Gardner – 58′ )

Substitutes

  • 22 Guzan
  • 29 Stevens
  • 37 Williams
  • 35 Johnson
  • 38 Gardner
  • 40 Carruthers
  • 26 Weimann
Match Statistics
Liverpool                             Aston Villa

Possession                     50%                                      50%

Shots on Target                5                                             3

Corners                            11                                            3

Fouls                                 4                                             9

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One thought on “Liverpool 1-1 Aston Villa – The Frustration Continues

  1. Pingback: Liverpool tries to shake the demons at Ewood Park | The Red Letter

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