MOTD- Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool

Liverpool have come back from behind to earn a good 2-1 win over Aston Villa, who now have dropped down into the relegation zone. Liverpool started the match dominantly, with Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho both starting the match very brightly. Stewart Downing whizzed a shot on goal in the second minute, and Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan easily made the save. Despite Liverpool seeing most of the ball Villa got the first big chance of the match when Joseph Bennet swung in a superb cross from the left and Glen Johnson failed to clear the ball at the front post. The ball fell right in front of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke, but neither of them could tap it in from point-blank range.

Villa got a rare chance in the sixteenth minute, when Matthew Lowton swung a magnificent low cross into the Liverpool box. Agbonlahor lathed on to the cross six yards out from goal, and hit a shot straight at Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina who parried it wide for the Liverpool defense to clear. Liverpool stayed on top though, and Suarez almost found the back of the net with a low shot that Guzan had to get down low to save. In the twenty-fourth minute Suarez got another chance when Coutinho played him in on goal from the left. Suarez should have shot with his left, but let it run across his body to shoot with his right, which gave time for Bennet to disrupt his shot.

Despite Liverpool dominating, it was Villa who opened the scoring when Ashley Westwood drilled a brilliant long ball to Agbonlahor. Agbonlahor trapped the ball in front of Benteke, who hit a ferocious volley from the edge of the box  into the back of the net past a hapless Reina to put Villa 1-0 up.  Liverpool didn’t seem too fazed by Villa’s goal, with Steven Gerrard and Suarez both tried their luck from inside the box, but to no avail.  Gerrard sprung to life in the closing minutes of the half, and forced Guzan into a superb save in the forty-third minute with a dipping shot from the edge of the box.  Liverpool could not find an equalizer before the end of the half though, and after a minute of injury-time the first half ended 1-0.

Liverpool had the best possible start to the second half, with Jordan Henderson grabbing an equalizer seconds into the half.  Coutinho received the ball on the left flank, and slid a perfect through ball to Henderson to put the English international in on goal.  Henderson took the ball into the box, and chipped the ball over Guzan into the left corner of the net to give Liverpool an equalizer.  The Reds looked very likely to go on and win the game, with Coutinho being put in on goal seconds later through a perfect through ball.  The former Internazionale player could have tried to round Guzan, but instead chipped the ball above his leg (quite like Henderson).  The ball rolled millimeters wide of the far post to give Villa a lucky break.

It seemed impossible for Liverpool to not score again, with Johnson rifling a shot off the post from the edge of the box in the fifty-seventh minute.  Seconds later Liverpool did finally manage to pull in front when Suarez cut the ball across his body inside the box, and Nathan Baker clumsily brought the Uruguayan down with a ridiculous tackle.  Referee Lee Mason awarded a penalty, which Gerrard buried in the bottom left corner of the net.

Amazingly, Villa suddenly switched back on, with Andreas Weimann blazing a shot over the bar from six yards out.  In the sixty-fourth minute Fabian Delph hit a volley from thirty yards out, with Reina having to push the swerving shot behind for a corner.   Benteke lathed on to the corner with a well hit header, and Gerrard was forced into a diving header to clear the ball off the line.  Liverpool started to slow down the tempo of the match, and ended Villa’s brief period of dominance.  Suarez almost put the game to bed in the eighty-third minute after nutmeging Baker, but Guzan got a vital hand on Suarez’s shot to tip it wide.  Despite having a few shots in the final seconds of the match, Villa could not equalize and the match ended 2-1 with Villa falling into the relegation zone.
Man of the Match: Steven Gerrard

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