Liverpool 0-1 Aston Villa – Reds Creativity Found Lacking

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By Jonathan Carroll

Expectations were high going into Saturdays game against Aston Villa. Paul Lambert’s side aren’t exactly supposed to be challenging for the top four based on their recent history so this was a game Brendan Rodgers would have hoped his Liverpool side could dispatch quite easily. Villa scored an early scrappy goal through Gabriel Agbonlahor and held on quite easily against a side void of ideas in the end.

It could be viewed as a worrying result based on Liverpool’s superior financial clout over Villa and the many signings that were brought in over the summer, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic, Mario Balotelli to name a few failed to create much and looked largely disjointed as their combination play failed to go anywhere. Obviously the Luis Suarez comparisons will come out but its a different team now. More attacking options. Balotelli was clearly targeted by the technically inferior Philippe Senderos and it seemed to work. A ploy that Balotelli may be forced to get used to during the season. With Daniel Sturridge out injured and Raheem Sterling rested for the Ludogrets Champions League game on Tuesday, Liverpool failed to get in behind Villa or even create many clear cut chances.

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Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini were brought on to late but both failed to add much to an already floundering attack. Philippe Coutinho was tireless as he probed the Villa back four but Liverpool looked out of sorts all afternoon. Perhaps too many new faces at once in the starting eleven? Brendan Rodgers must get the mix right as new faces look to find their role in the team. What is evident is that Liverpool can’t rely too much on Daniel Sturridge staying fit for the rest of the season, especially under a clueless Roy Hodgson and his England set up.

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Mario Balotelli could flourish in this side with Coutinho and Sterling around him but that depends on whether Rodgers can integrate him seamlessly into the team as a unit. Rodgers loves a challenge. This could be his biggest yet. Take into consideration that team rotation will become a regular occurrence due to Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup games and his challenge is of enormous proportions. Next up is Ludogrets at Anfield on Tuesday September 16th at 2.45pm US time.

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22 Mignolet
18 Moreno (Booked)
19 Manquillo
06 Lovren
17 Sakho
10 Coutinho
50 Markovic (Borini – 71′ )
08 Gerrard
20 Lallana (Booked) (Sterling – 61′ )
14 Henderson
45 Balotelli (Lambert – 71′ )

01 Jones
03 Jose Enrique
04 K Touré
09 Lambert
21 Lucas
29 Borini
31 Sterling

Aston Villa
01 Guzan
23 Cissokho
02 Baker
21 Hutton (Booked)
14 Senderos
15 Westwood
16 Delph
08 Cleverley (Sánchez – 86′ )
10 Weimann (N’Zogbia – 72′ )
18 Richardson
11 Agbonlahor (Bent – 91′ )

05 Okore
07 Bacuna
19 Bent
24 Sánchez
28 N’Zogbia
31 Given
40 Grealish

Referee: Lee Mason
Attendance: 44,689


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