Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool – Henderson Leads Reds to Villa Victory

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

By Jonathan Carroll

Liverpool produced a resurgent second half performance to secure three points at Villa Park on Sunday. Initially it looked as if Christian Benteke would lead the Liverpool back four a merry dance as he scored from twenty yards out after thirty-one minutes. Second half goals from Jordan Henderson and a penalty from captain Steven Gerrard enabled Liverpool to maintain in contention for European football next season. Liverpool came from behind to win away from home, a feat not produced since 2009 and something that has happened twice this season. Progressive signs perhaps under Brendan Rodgers.

The summer transfer window must see some much needed physicality added to the squad. The back four needs a player who can withstand the physical demands of the league as well as play football in the manner Rodgers demands.  Daniel Agger and Jamie Carragher looked fragile at set pieces while Benteke looked to use his size and power to overpower them throughout Sundays game.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Benteke scored from Gabriel Agbonlahors knock down and Villa looked to be in the driving seat. Liverpool had chances of note fall to Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard also tested Brad Guzan from distance. The second half saw a more clinical Liverpool team take the pitch.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

The ever impressive Philippe Coutinho played a sublime through ball for the racing Henderson to dink over Guzan. Just reward for a player that has continually improved as the season has worn on. Glen Johnson’s deflected shot from outside the box hit the post before Luis Suarez was cynically hacked down by Nathan Baker in the penalty area. The penalty was duly dispatched by Gerrard and both skipper and away support celebrated a lead that Liverpool would not give up.

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Indeed it was the skipper that was responsible for maintaining the lead, heading off the line from Benteke as Villa looked to claw their way back into the game. A good three points against a desperate Villa side. Lucas Leiva was off form on Sunday, usually setting the standard, the Brazilian has found it difficult to reach the heights he previously set this season. Something that Joe Allen can identify with. Little doubt remains as to the quality of the Brazilian and the midfielder will once again play himself into form. The only question is how long will that take?

Photo courtesy of liverpoolfc.com

Coutinho impressed once again with a smart performance. Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson are ever improving and Henderson in particular looks to be getting comfortable in his role. Rodgers side will face West Ham next Sunday with three points needed to maintain a push for European football. Depending on the summer transfer budget, Liverpool may or may not have the squad to deal with midweek European games. Champions League football qualification would surely see the budget increase, however the likelihood of Liverpool clinching fourth spot remain slim. If Rodgers and co manage to win the remaining fixtures then it could make for an interesting end to the season.

Aston Villa

  • 22 Guzan – 7
  • 04 Vlaar – 5
  • 27 Bennett – 6
  • 32 Baker – 5
  • 34 Lowton – 6
  • 15 Westwood – 6 (Booked)
  • 18 Sylla – 5 (El Ahmadi – 76′ )
  • 25 Bannan – 6 (Delph – 62′ )
  • 11 Agbonlahor – 6
  • 20 Benteke – 7
  • 26 Weimann – 6 (N’Zogbia – 62′ )

Substitutes

  • 01 Given
  • 30 Lichaj
  • 08 El Ahmadi
  • 10 N’Zogbia
  • 16 Delph
  • 24 Dawkins
  • 21 Bowery

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina – 7
  • 02 Johnson – 7
  • 03 Jose Enrique – 6
  • 05 Agger – 7
  • 23 Carragher – 7
  • 08 Gerrard – 8 (Booked)
  • 10 Phillippe Coutinho – 8 (Sterling – 77′ )
  • 14 Henderson – 9
  • 19 Downing – 7
  • 21 Lucas – 4
  • 07 Suarez – 7

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 16 Coates
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 31 Sterling
  • 33 Shelvey
  • 15 Sturridge
  • 30 Suso
Referee: Lee Mason
Attendance: 42,037
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One thought on “Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool – Henderson Leads Reds to Villa Victory

  1. Another good post Jonathan. The result and the performance summed up Liverpool’s season in a way. Down one minute but up the next finishing in us getting into a winnibng position but nearly conceding the three points.

    Yes, the pre-season transfers, both in and out, will be so crucial. Maybe more so than in other recent years. We can all see that improvements have been made and even though we have nightmares like Southampton, Villa at home, Stoke, West Brom (twice), we have played some fantastic football at times and some solid foundations have been laid with some of the youngsters establishing themselves.

    Let us hope we don’t repeat the same mistakes we made in the 2002/03 pre-season. We were in a great position after the 2001/02 season and massive improvements had been made in both 2000/01 and 2001/02. The 2001/02 season saw us kick on from the treble winning season the year before by finishing 2nd in the Premier League. Some good signings in the summer of 2002 would surely have seen us really challenge and maybe even win the Premier League. But then enter El Hadji Diouf, Bruno Cheyrou and Salif Diao and the rest is history.

    I agree we need some physicality in the team, particularly in central defence. Are there any Sami Hyppia’s knocking about anywhere? I’ve mentioned before, maybe Martin Kelly is the central defender we are looking for. We will need to sign another centre-back as well with experience but don’t be surprised to see Steven Sama emerge next season or Lloyd Jones the season after. Lloyd Jones is only 17 but is a commanding figure for the U18’s and at 6 feet 3 inches has the physical presence. And Andre Wisdom can play there of course. So the future looks bright in the middle of defence. The signing of a big commanding, experienced defender for next season and beyond is a priority though.

    Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge have been great signings. Jordan Henderson is looking more and more like an all-round, quality midfielder so he has been like a new signing the last few months. There are many rumours of course regarding potential signings. Christian Eriksen rumours are gathering pace as are, maybe less so, regarding Ben Arfa. We do though still need a commanding, physical midfielder. A Yaya Toure type if you like. Will Conor Coady step up to the plate?

    Seven games to go, so don’t be surprised to see some more “Jekyll and Hyde” performances and results. If we can rid ourselves of “Mr Hyde” though we will be able to take that confidence into next season.

    Like

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