Liverpool – Aston Villa wasn’t a classic, but the Reds won for the first time since they were crowned champions to keep their chase for plenty of Premier League records on track.
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Sadio Mane and Curtis Jones scored the goals to give Liverpool a 2-0 win as they have now won 24 consecutive wins at home, with the new Premier League champions winning all 17 of their home games so far this season.
With the win they now have 89 points for the season and with five games to go they can still beat Man City’s record for most wins, points and the biggest winning-margin in Premier League history. Aston Villa remain in deep relegation trouble and are one point from safety with five games left.
Three things we learned
1. Late subs make the difference: Henderson, Wijnaldum and Firmino arrived for the final 30 minutes and made a huge difference as Liverpool struck twice in the final 20 minutes to seal a win. Jurgen Klopp’s side looked a bit disjointed but did what they had to do as they put their defeat at Man City behind them.
2. Solid Villa need more cutting edge: David Luiz, Tyrone Mings and Jack Grealish looked really good and Villa were solid up until Liverpool scored. Defensively they’ve looked better since the restart but they have to find more cutting edge. They face Man United, Crystal Palace, Everton, Arsenal and West Ham in their final five games and it will likely come down to the finale to see if they stay in the Premier League. Villa have to be more attacking in their final games of the season to try and keep themselves up.
3. Records still in sight: Liverpool can get records for the most points, wins and the biggest winning margin in Premier League history and that has to be their aim. This superb season could peter out but Klopp and his side will want to show everybody that the record suggests that are better than Man City in 2017-18 and are the best team we’ve ever seen in the PL. These tight wins all season long have pushed them towards greatness.
Man of the Match
Douglas Luiz – Was everywhere in midfield for Aston Villa and his bite in the tackle set the tone for a dogged display from every single Villa player. They will need more of that from Luiz in the final games of the season to drag themselves out of the bottom three.
A slow start to the match saw Liverpool create a few chances with both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane eager to get on the ball.
Douglas Luiz had a volley on goal which was straight at Alisson as the game struggled to come to life in the first half with Salah’s weak effort denied by Pepe Reina at the near post.
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In the second half the intensity failed to increase as Grealish had a shot saved by Alisson but the flagged was raised for offside.
Anwar El Ghazi then forced Alisson into a save at his near post as Grealish led a counter attack with Liverpool caught napping.
Liverpool made a triple substitution for the final 30 minutes as Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum came on to try and spark the champions into life.
Virgil van Dijk blocked a shot from Grealish as Villa looked more dangerous but then succumbed to a moment of quality.
Naby Keita picked out Mane at the back post and his finish came off the underside of the bar and in.
Substitute Jones then jumped off the bench and finished off Robertson’s cross after Salah nodded it down into his path. It was Jones’ first Premier League goal and sealed a 24th consecutive home win in the league for the champions.
Grealish went close late on but Alisson saved as Villa really missed a chance to pick up a bonus point in their relegation battle and Liverpool made them pay.