Prior to Aston Villa’s visit to Anfield, it seemed impossible to think the result would be anything but a Liverpool victory. But for the opening 25 minutes, Liverpool looked rather muddled, allowing the visitors free reign of the midfield and seeming rather disinterested in mounting a coherent attack.
So when Villa scored in the 25th minute, it actually came as less of a surprise than it could have been. Paul Lambert’s men launched an excellent counterattack, with Gabby Agbonlahor sprinting up the left wing. The pacy forward outstripped the majority of the Liverpool players, and, while waiting for Andi Weimann to get into position, executed a few stepovers to confuse Kolo Toure. Agbonlahor then slotted over to the waiting Austrian, who needed just a touch of his toe to knock the ball into the back of the net.
Shortly thereafter, Daniel Sturridge took advantage of a knock to Ron Vlaar to take a shot on goal, but the volley went well over Brad Guzan’s goal.
Just when Liverpool looked like they might be getting themselves back in the match, Aston Villa struck once more. This time the goal came from Christian Benteke, his second in as many matches. The Reds allowed Agbonlahor to skip away again, this time down the right. Simon Mignolet came out to punch at Agbonlahor’s cross, but connected only with air. Benteke came diving in and his header found the back of the net, doubling the Villa lead.
Will Liverpool be able to fight back, or will they be haunted by last season’s result, in which Benteke and Weimann also scored, prompting a 3-1 Villa victory?