Soccer

Quite the Massacre at Villa Park

Image Source: Reuters

Too easy for the Reds as they outclassed relegation team Aston Villa

The Valentine’s Day massacre of Aston Villa it was named, and how rightly so.

There was no question as to who were the favourites to win and who were the underdogs this game as an 11th placed Liverpool side took on a rock-bottom Aston Villa at Villa Park. And oh my word, that fact showed too well.

Liverpool were playing easy – pass pass pass, dribble, shoot, repeat. It was getting quite routine to see the players attack often, and when they lost the ball they just get it back and attack again.

It was Daniel Sturridge, the injury-plagued man, who scored the first goal of the game. A delightful lobbed ball from Coutinho met a goal-deprived Sturridge’s head before being buried in the bottom corner of the net – Bunn stood no chance.

It was none other than James Milner who scored the second goal of the game. After Coutinho conceded a free kick on the left of the box, Milner stepped up to take it. I’m going to be completely honest here, I was hoping above hope that Coutinho was going to take it. Once I saw the curl on the ball, though, there was only one place the shot was going: the back of the net. As someone once said, “if the free kick is to be taken from a tight angle, make sure it’s on target, so that there’s a chance to score even if nobody reaches the ball.” And sure enough, nobody got a touch on the ball. Sakho came the closest but the most he did was probably scare Bunn. And the English keeper was not to blame either – every good goalkeeper guards his line at a set piece.

The third goal was scored by the German-engineered tank, Emre Can. He took a stumble winning the ball back but managed to push it forward to Firmino. The way he picked himself up and kept running was a highlight of the match too, as he picked up the Brazilian forward’s pass and drove it right into the goal. An outstretched Bunn couldn’t quite reach the shot, much less keep it out.

The other striker just returned from injury struck the 4th goal as Origi took a touch on a semi-cleared, semi-lobbed ball from Coutinho before firing it into the net. Really left Villa defenders trailing as he used his explosive pace to outrun them.

Red right-back and Glen Johnson’s replacement,  Nathaniel Clyne, scored his first Liverpool goal as he made use of a confusion in the Aston Villa penalty box to extend Liverpool’s lead to 5 goals. Having his first shot saved by Bunn, and the rebound of that taken by Origi but saved again, Clyne got up quite fast to ram the ball into the net. A well deserved goal for the former Southampton man.

Finally, it was utility man Kolo Toure who scored the 6th goal for Liverpool to completely humiliate Aston Villa. A corner delivery that left me thinking how we got so good at set-pieces, met by a brilliantly placed header from the 34-year-old.

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Kolo Toure celebrates his goal against Aston Villa. SOURCE: Getty Images

Match Ratings:

GOALKEEPER:

Simon Mignolet: 7

Solid performance from the Belgian, a good show. They’re getting a little sparse but today was a good day for him.

DEFENCE:

Nathaniel Clyne: 8

Creative going up, solid at the back. Didn’t have too many crosses to deal with, which was a bonus. A very well-deserved goal given his performances.

Kolo Toure: 9

What a man. So much passion for the Reds. Quite the rock in defence, brilliant header to top things off at the end. My Man of the Match.

Mamadou Sakho: 7

Reliable, handy, useful. What we need at the back: solid but not the player with the most flair.

Alberto Moreno: 7

Quiet, other than a few good flicks and touches. Did well to accelerate the first goal too with an outside foot pass to Coutinho.

MIDFIELD:

James Milner: 8

A game of good crosses and key passes for the ex-Manchester City man. Good involvement in attacks and occasionally defence too.

Jordan Henderson: 6

I did feel he lacked something. Is it fair? Reliability? Gerrard-esque volleys and free-kicks? Am I asking too much from him perhaps? Maybe I’m just expecting too much from anyone wearing the captain’s armband.

Emre Can: 8

The German tank put up one of his best shows today as he scored his second Premier League goal. Some key passes and good runs. Showing good potential, can be real good in the future. Don’t forget he’s only 22.

Philippe Coutinho: 8.5

What wonderful play from the Brazilian. Just back from injury but he really played like he didn’t miss a single match. Didn’t pick up a goal but that’s fine – especially since he got two assists.

ATTACK:

Roberto Firmino: 8

This in-form Brazilian didn’t get a goal to keep his goal-in-every-match-played-as-forward going, but he did get an assist – that comes pretty close doesn’t it?

Daniel Sturridge: 9

The Englishman had a wonderful game. Got to do the famous dance again. Shut up everyone who doubted him and wanted to sell him for being a burden to the club. Didn’t look too happy to be taken off but you can’t push him too hard at once can you?

SUBS:

Divock Origi (On for Sturridge at 62′): 8

The Belgian was great since the time he was introduced in the game at the 62nd minute, somehow managing to score within a minute of coming on.

Kevin Stewart (On for Coutinho at 66′): 6

Didn’t look very out-of-place, not the most creative player on the pitch, though. Was decent.

Christian Benteke (On for Firmino at 74′): 5

Lowest rating this game. Looked out-of-place, and just seemed to change and slow the flow of the game that had earned Liverpool six goals. Even the Aston Villa fans were cheering him on to score against them – would have been great if he had heeded them, though. Has a bit to work on his confidence still really.

Transfer News and Updates

The Matip deal is perhaps a few hours from official, as pretty much every Liverpool-related social media account has mentioned how the deal would be done in a short time from now. Looking forward to him at Liverpool – tall, young, promising. Just what we need, I would say. That’s the second transfer Klopp has made, the first being Marko Grujic (another player I really wish to see in action). Klopp will surely wish to put his mark on Liverpool through the transfers he makes. I foresee Kolo Toure going out, though, and the possibility of Lucas too. Maybe Lallana as well? Time will tell what the German has in store for Liverpool fans.

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