ASTON VILLA 2-1 LIVERPOOL
Well, after a euphoric 2013/14 season, where Liverpool finished second in the Premier League, fans had expected us to do even better this season. However, the only remaining hope of a silverware this season is over as the team were defeated by Aston Villa at Wembley on Sunday. This also means the end of all hopes of seeing Stevie G depart from Liverpool in a ‘blaze of glory’. However, truth be told, Liverpool definitely was the weaker team on the whole and besides a few moments of glory, the match was among the ones that fans would want to forget.
Liverpool started surprisingly with a defense oriented lineup. Rodgers would put three strikers on the bench, while choosing to play Raheem Sterling as the sole striker. However, Skrtel and Gerrard were back in the starting 11 after a three game absence.
The first half started fairly for Liverpool, with the team creating some good chances sometimes, but also threatened once-in-a-while by Villa’s attempts. However, Liverpool did manage to take the lead in the 30th minute, through a brilliant combination between Coutinho and Sterling, which saw the Brazilian score a really good goal from inside the box.
Yet, celebrations for the fans were short-lived as Benteke scored an easy goal for Villa six minutes later, exploiting Liverpool’s defensive lapses. The scoreline was 1-1 and it remained that way until the end of the first half.
At the start of the second half, Balotelli was brought in the place of Lazar Markovic. Yet, Balotelli failed to make much impact as the team looked lethargic and were constantly threatened by Villa. Balotelli was caught in fair offside calls, more than five times in the game and if the Italian wants to cement his place in the hearts of the Anfield faithfuls, he surely has to work on removing such errors from his game. When the rest of the team work so hard to create genuine chances, strikers have to be more responsible in their attempts and Balotelli didn’t look much committed.
The team’s poor game finally allowed Villa to take the lead after Delph scored a good goal from close range to put the opposition on the lead in the 54th minute. That proved to be too big a blow for the Reds as the team struggled really hard for the rest of the game for getting at least a draw until the regular 90 minutes ended.
The best chance for an equalizer came around the middle of the second half when Balotelli put the ball in the net. Yet, the Italian was unfairly judged offside by the linesman, despite replays showing that it wasn’t the case. A few minutes later, Liverpool would also get a freekick just outside the box. Fans desperately wanted Captain Fantastic to put it at the back of the net in the way has been doing for years. Yet, nothing good came out of it as well.
A few corners looked promising too, but they too weren’t capitalized. Finally the whistle was blown and it ended a disappointing defeat for the Reds. So now, not even a miracle can now give Liverpool a silverware this season.
Now the only thing that Liverpool fans can hope for is a top four finish and frankly speaking, that too will be a tough target to achieve given our recent form as well as the current league position. However, let’s not lose hope and continue supporting the Reds, no matter what.
The next game will see the Red head to the Hawthorne’s to face West Bromwich Albion on the 25th of April. It will be a must win game, considering our Champions’ League ambitions.