Editorials — December 19, 2011 17:55

Aston Villa 0 – Liverpool 2 (Match Report)

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A comfortable outing for the Reds, who recorded their fifth away victory of the season. Stewart Downing returned to his old stomping ground, where he scored the winner in this fixture last season. Like Glen Johnson before him would Downing have one of those games where he would score the winner against his old team?

The Match

Liverpool came into the game after a hard fought result against QPR at Anfield.  Another away win would keep the Reds in touching distance with the rest of the hunting pack. Jonjo Shelvey was handed his first start since returning from his loan spell at Blackpool.

The Reds started the game as they have started most matches, very brightly, with urgency and good tempo. Liverpool played the opening quarter of the game in the opposition half, firmly stamping their authority on the game. The Redmen may not be sitting top of the table but the way they have been bossing games would suggest an air of superiority is beginning to filter throughout the team.

Liverpool were rewarded for their hardwork and persistency in the 11th minute. Downing who remained a target by the Aston Villa boo boys, had a point to prove. The former Villa man, had his say with a fantastic delivery from a corner which led to the first goal. Downing’s corner was met by a clever back heel by Shelvey and the ball found its way to Luis Suarez. Suarez who also attempted a back heel was denied by Aston Villa keeper Brad Guzan, fortunately,  Craig Bellamy was close by to tap the ball into the back of the net.

Bellamy whose impact has been felt in all the games he’s  featured was on hand again for Liverpool’s second. This time whipping in a measured corner from the left for Martin Skrtel who guided the ball in with a marvellous header. The Reds were 2-0 up in the space of 15 minutes, and in prime position to add more goals before the final whistle.  Aston Villa offered some resistance before half time but nothing that seriously troubled Pepe Reina. Liverpool went into the break with a two goal lead.

More should have been added after the break with Luis Suarez hitting the woodwork on two separate occasions. The game had shades of the 5-0 victory at Anfield in March 2009 when Stevie G scored a hatrick.

Liverpool were swarming all over Aston Villa and it could have quite easily finished with a similar scoreline. In the end it was a comfortable afternoon with very little offered from Aston Villa and the all important three points were heading back to Merseyside. Once again, Liverpool are showing they meant business and the pass and movement between the players was at times, first class.

Competition has rightly increased since the arrival of Kenny Dalglish, and Jonjo Shelvey who was given his first league start since rejoining the Reds, hugely impressed. Looking like a different proposition altogether since he last featured for Liverpool, Shelvey impact was positively felt. He had a big part in the first goal and made some very intelligent runs throughout the game. He could have been on the scoring sheet had wiser decisions been made by his colleagues.  The goal scoring run that he had been on at Blackpool (scoring 6 goals in 10 games, including a hatrick against Leeds United) has clearly created a healthy appetite for more goals, and this was evident during yesterday’s game. It was pleasing to see this attacking style come out in Shelvey’s game. It’s no easy task filling Lucas’s boots but Shelvey played his part well.

Final Thoughts

Goals came from two corners yesterday, and after 27 corners in the last two games it was about time they finally went in. Hitting the woodwork seems to a recurring theme, and Liverpool must be on some record for hitting the woodwork the most during a season!

It was a pleasing result and Liverpool are gradually showing stability and a level of consistency now. Apart from the hiccup at Craven Cottage, the Reds have looked menacing and understanding between the players is growing. With that said, picking up results away from home and at Anfield will decisive if we are to keep in touch with the Champions League spot.  The games will begin to come thick and fast during the festive season. The Reds are showing positive signs that they will be able to cope well during the action packed period.

Confidence is high – Reds are on the march again- In Kenny we trust.

 

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