Another game that the away team led 0-1 when I joined it, it was more of an hour than just a half this time.
So, what happened? Again, I was hoping to see a Liverpool full of the same vim and verve that they’ve become famous for though – although initially it seemed to be because of the flatness of falling behind – it just didn’t click for the Reds.
With Sterling being rested and Sturridge absent, there was a clear message that Brendan Rodgers’ side clearly need one or both of those sprightly young Englishmen to offer the spark that players of the quality of Balotelli and Markovic can run with.
And so it went on, with Liverpool huffing and puffing but the quality of their forward play not particularly testing an Aston Villa defence that was (its worth noting) short of Ron’crete’ Vlaar themselves. There’s been talk of Villa being a bogey side for the Reds, but while it might seem so, Paul Lambert isn’t an idiot. Liverpool’s strengths lie in their attacking play, and their pace.
By sitting deeper, the threat is negated to a point and while it doesn’t guarantee the lock won’t be picked its a decent start. Its the sort of tactics that a lot of teams will employ at Anfield, and learning to deal with it will be Liverpool’s biggest test this season (as it was last).
If they don’t score early, it becomes harder and harder to break down increasingly resolute opposition. They couldn’t break down Villa and rarely looked likely to.