Monday, 1 April 2013

Aston Villa v Liverpool

After a long international break gave them time to reflect on the defeat at Southampton, Liverpool travelled down to face relegation-threatened Aston Villa.

Four changes from the last game saw Reina, Carragher, Lucas and Henderson all come in but Villa got off to the best start with Agger twice denying them an opening goal early on. Lucas had a good chance in the 16th minute before Reina denied Agbonlahor.

The deadlock broke in the 31st minute as a pinpoint ball from Guzan to Agbonlahor saw him lay off to Benteke who smashed home past Reina from the edge of the area to ease the home side's worries and give them something to cheer about.

Liverpool's response was good as Suarez went one on one with Guzan but was denied an equaliser while Gerrard's lash from long range stung the gloves of Guzan and meant they went into the break behind.

They came out and stunned Villa by equalising within two minutes of the second half as Coutinho slipped in a through ball for Henderson to sweep past Guzan and score his fourth of the season.

Liverpool could have gone 2-1 up eight minutes later when Suarez split open the back line and picked out Coutinho only for the Brazilian to hit wide of the post and Johnson shook the post with a shot from distance before Liverpool were awarded a penalty after Suarez was fouled by Baker.

Gerrard stepped up and made no mistake in safely guiding the ball past Guzan who dived the right way but was unable to prevent Liverpool completing their comeback.

The conceding of the second goal spurred Villa on and Weimann could have equalised before a crucial diving headed block from Gerrard on the line frustrated and denied Benteke of a brace with Reina tipping over a mis-hit cross minutes later.

Liverpool held on for victory and kept their hopes of a European place for next season very much alive while defeat meant Villa remained in trouble and still in the bottom three.

Next up for Liverpool is the hosting of West Ham and the return of Cole and loanee Carroll to Anfield next Sunday in a big weekend for the city with the Grand National the day before.