Liverpool Player Ratings vs Aston Villa: Will Reds Ruin Gerrard’s Homecoming?

Written By High Press 10 on December 11, 2021

Not sure if you have heard, but Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard is now managing Aston Villa and takes his squad to Anfield today!

While that storyline (and if Villa is just a jumping point for Gerrard to an eventual and inevitable Liverpool managerial gig) has dominated the headlines, this should be a cracking match. 

Gerrard has a 3-0-1 managerial record with Villa, guiding them back to 11th in the table. 

Meanwhile, Liverpool are running over competition of late, scoring goals for fun. They also just finished their “group of death” Champions League table on top with a perfect record. 

The Reds have scored in 30 straight matches. And they start very much on the front-foot in this one. However, nothing to show for all the offensive effort by the end of the half. Despite a dreary and drizzly afternoon, it’s a lively and chippy first 45 minutes. We go into half-time tied 0-0.

Liverpool come out with purpose in the second half. It’s target practice on Villa’s goal. They finally get the breakthough they deserve when Mo Salah hits a perfect penalty to put the Reds up 1-0.

Some nervy moments at the end, and some wasted chances, but Liverpool end up collecting three points with a 1-0 win. 

Here are Liverpool player ratings vs Aston Villa in Steven Gerrard’s return.

Liverpool Player Ratings vs Aston Villa

Manager

Jurgen Klopp (7) – 

Sticking with his preferred squad, although give Ox a well-earned start. Guess he has no plans to rest Mo or Mane any time soon. Team is playing well. However, could see him sub Ox out early in the second for Jota. Which is what he does. 

Subs are good. Not on Klopp that his front 3 couldn’t finish today. 

Goalkeeper

Alisson (4) –

Coming off line in 30th, totally misjudges ball, slips, and is bailed out by Matip. Poor communication with Trent in the 41st almost leads to a critical mistake. Seems off today. Almost lacking confidence. It’s weird. Another totally awful decision late – followed by a near penalty on Ings in the box – makes this a troubling day for Ali. 

Pretty sure we’ve never given a 4 for a goalie who kept a clean sheet, but Ali was bad today. 

Defenders

Trent Alexander-Arnold (8) –

An in-form Trent should be probing up the flank all match. Could’ve done a little better on the dummy set up by Mo for a shot on target in the 12th. Just misses an assist in the 17th on a cross to Robbo’s head. Delivers a perfect corner in the 35th that somehow isn’t touched by a Liverpool player. Played awesome today. Deserved something on the score sheet. 

Virgil Van Dijk (7.5) –

Poor, casual defending on Watkins in the 13th minute leads to a booking and dangerous free kick. Another careless clearance in the 28th goes right to Cash. A little more locked in during the second half. Winning aerial after aerial. Stepped up at the end when we needed him. 

Joel Matip (8) – 

Best CB in England? Making it really hard for Konate to get minutes. Very heady defending bails out Alisson with a key clearance in the 30th. Does his classic dribble in and run in the 42nd. Clearing everything in sight in the second half. Really really good. 

Andy Robertson (7.5) – 

Decent effort on a header in the 17th off a Trent cross. Then a few seconds later had a clear shot at goal but elects for an errant pass across the box. Spots Matip and booms a perfect ball in at the 25th minute, almost earning an assist. Seconds later has a dashing run into the box and clever move but goes to ground instead of toeing one at the goal. Man, Robbo in full attack mode today. Brilliant run in again in the 42nd and almost earn an assist. Steps up defensive effort in second half. 

Midfielders

Fabinho (7.5) –

Patrolling and controlling the middle. Gorgeous ball to Salah in the 44th almost leads to an opener. Steps up defensively in the second half when needed. 

Thiago (6.5) – 

Getting himself involved defensively. Alert and composed. Subbed off late for Milner. 

Jordan Henderson (6.5) –

Played hard. Strong second half when he looked to get more involved and stepped up his pressing. 

Forwards

Sadio Mane (6.5) – 

Being a pest defensively which you love to see. Active offensively too. Nothing to show for it. Subbed late for Taki.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (6) –

Starting for Jota today and well-deserved. However, I’ve always liked Ox better in midfield than forward for us. Playing the #9 which is definitely not a familiar spot for him under Klopp. Blasts a solid attempt from outside the box just over the goal in the 19th. Otherwise, a good not great showing. Although somewhat miscast as a false 9. Subbed out in the 58th.

Mo Salah (7) –

Just feels like a match that Mo goes off. Salah, who is selfish per most of the lazy hacky soccer media, yet leads the Premier League in assists and consistently tallies more than his front 3 mates, does a clever dummy to set up a Trent shot in the 12th minute. Just misses high on a good effort in the 60th. 

Then, literal seconds after the commentators say “Mings is a Man of the Match candidate,” Mings brings Salah down in the box. Even though the goalie guessed right, Salah hits an inch perfect pk to put Liverpool up 1-0. 

However, wastes a 3 vs 1 opportunity minutes later by dribbling right into a defender. Should’ve had at least another goal or assist today if he was sharper.

Substitutions

Diogo Jota (6) – On in the 58th for Ox. Immediately whiffs on solid set-up by Salah.

James Milner (NR) – On late for Thiago.

Takumi Minamino (NR) – On late for Mane. 

MAN OF THE MATCH

A few good candidates today, but going with Joel Matip for his defensive boss class today.

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High Press 10 covers general global soccer stories and news. He / she finds the quality of soccer in Bend It Like Beckham to be on par with u8 rec.

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