EPL

Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool: Mane ensures Reds live to fight another day in title tussle

By Sports Desk May 10, 2022

Sadio Mane's second-half winner secured Liverpool a vital 2-1 victory at Aston Villa on Tuesday to keep the pressure on Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

After the 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Saturday, Liverpool's championship hopes looked bleak while they were being held to the same scoreline at Villa Park, but the Reds' superior quality ultimately came up trumps.

Much of the pre-match attention focused on how Liverpool legend and Villa manager Steven Gerrard could be the one to further derail his former side's quadruple bid, and Douglas Luiz's early opener suggested a shock could be on the cards.

But Joel Matip swiftly equalised, and from that point Liverpool were generally the greater threat, eventually completing the turnaround just past the hour thanks to Mane.

Liverpool's underwhelming start culminated in a defensive mix-up between Kostas Tsimikas and Matip allowing Douglas Luiz to test Alisson and then smash home the rebound.

But the Reds quickly levelled through Matip in the sixth minute, prodding into the empty net after Virgil van Dijk beat Emiliano Martinez to a loose ball in the Villa box.

While Liverpool struggled to establish any real control in a feisty first half, the better chances continued to go their way as Mane headed just wide and Naby Keita comically mishit an attempt from 10 yards with the goal at his mercy.

It was a tighter affair in the second half, though Liverpool's next clear-cut opportunity proved decisive.

Luis Diaz did well to pick out Mane from the left, and the Senegal forward brilliantly twisted his body to meet the cross with a header into the bottom-right corner, with Villa failing to hit back as Danny Ings had a goal disallowed for offside.

Related items

  • ''He's like a nice bottle of Rioja' – Aldridge lauds Madrid captain Benzema ''He's like a nice bottle of Rioja' – Aldridge lauds Madrid captain Benzema

    John Aldridge has compared Real Madrid talisman Karim Benzema to a "bottle of Rioja" who has got better with age ahead of the Champions League final against Liverpool.

    France striker Benzema has scored a staggering 44 goals in 45 appearances for Los Blancos this season.

    The Madrid captain is the leading scorer in the 2021-22 Champions League, finding the back of the net 15 times in 11 matches – including back-to-back hat-tricks against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.

    Benzema's penalty settled a pulsating semi-final second leg against Manchester City and the 34-year-old also helped himself to a brace in the first leg.

    Former Liverpool striker Aldridge spoke of his admiration for the prolific Benzema ahead of Saturday's Champions League showdown at Stade de France.

    He told Stats Perform: "I always thought that Benzema was a good player. But what he's done the last couple of years, and they've had the big players leave, he's become like a bottle of wine.

    "He's matured very well. He's got better with age, which I did, because I was a late developer. I found the older I got, the more experience I got, the better I was.

    "I played until I was nearly 40. He has a great football brain and all I can say is, he’s like a nice bottle of Rioja, red, that is. He's matured very, very well. And it's very expensive."

    Aldridge stressed that the Reds must not allow 36-year-old midfield maestro Luka Modric to dictate the final in Paris.

    "It's down the middle, we can hurt them in certain places," he said. "Vinicius [Junior] and Benzema, for me are our main threat.

    "They have great players all over the pitch. In midfield, Modric, what a player, what a player he is, whatever age he is, I watched him against Man City, you let him run the show.

    "And I've seen him run the show for Tottenham at Liverpool, one of the best appearances I've ever seen from an away player. Some years ago, we got beat, and he was unbelievable.

    "So, you can't give him any room. You've got to watch the space in behind Trent [Alexander-Arnold], obviously where they'll capitalise with the pace of Vinicius.

    "And Benzema, you can't give him any room in the box, they're the main threats. When you've got [Sadio] Mane, [Diogo] Jota, [Luis] Diaz and [Mohamed] Salah, they've got a little bit to think about as well."

    Aldridge also hailed Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, who won the LaLiga title for the first time this season after leaving Everton for a second spell in the Spanish capital.

    He said: "Apart from Everton? It's mad with Ancelotti, he went to Everton and walked away, and he got another crack at Madrid which to be quite honest, how that has happened is like, it's crazy isn't it?

    "And he's been brilliant. You have to say he's very intelligent, he's a class act, he's been in these occasions quite a few times as we know. He has set the stall out, he's right up there with the best coaches and managers in the world. Absolutely."

  • Liverpool greats recount story of taking European Cup to local pub after 1981 win over Real Madrid Liverpool greats recount story of taking European Cup to local pub after 1981 win over Real Madrid

    Jordan Henderson and the Champions League trophy will become well-acquainted again if Liverpool beat Real Madrid in Paris on Saturday – though he might not be allowed to take it to his local pub.

    Phil Thompson was the Reds' captain in 1981, when Liverpool also faced Madrid in a European final in Paris.

    A 1-0 win at the Parc des Princes ensured the trophy was going back to Merseyside once again following their successes in the European Cup in 1977 and 78.

    But this time there was even more of a local flavour to Liverpool's victory, with Thompson becoming the first Scouser to lift the trophy, and he was determined to make it a memorable homecoming.

    The UEFA delegate who handed him the cup might not have expected Thompson to take it to the pub, however.

    Alan Kennedy, who scored Liverpool's crucial goal in that final, told Stats Perform: "First of all, we knew that Phil Thompson had it, but we didn't know what he was going to do with it.

    "We thought he might take it in his car. What was it? I'm sure he had a Ford Capri at the time, and it was a souped-up one, if I remember rightly!

    "He put it on the front seat and everybody else had to get in the backseat and whatever. But he knew we had to look after it. He knew he was responsible for it.

    "I think the rest is history about going to some of the pubs in Kirby [a town on the outskirts of Liverpool]."

    There were no such stories after Henderson and his Liverpool team-mates returned to Merseyside victorious in 2019, with the trophy seemingly guarded with greater security these days.

    Though Thompson insists the cup never left his sight.

    "It wasn't a mission, it was always in my safe hands," he added. "I'd always planned that I was taking it back to the Falcon [a pub], I was taking it home to the Falcon in Kirby, so it's now become quite legendary.

    "I travel the country and they say, 'Is it a myth?' Or, 'is it true that you took the European Cup to a pub in Kirby?' And I did.

    "After we'd done the [parade] I put the European Cup in a big velvet bag in the back of the Ford Capri, an awful one, to the Falcon."

    Henderson will surely just be happy to get his hands on the trophy once again, even if bringing it to his local is out of the question.

  • Lucy Bronze to leave Man City as England Lionesses star is linked with move to USA Lucy Bronze to leave Man City as England Lionesses star is linked with move to USA

    England star Lucy Bronze has called time on her Manchester City career after a second stint with the Women's Super League outfit.

    Bronze, who won FIFA's The Best Women's Player Award in 2020, is set for a crucial role with her country when England host the European Championship in July.

    The Telegraph reported last week that 30-year-old Bronze has received offers from clubs in the United States and is considering a move to a team on the west coast.

    She has been spending time in California this week, according to pictures posted on her Instagram account.

    City said in a statement on Thursday: "Manchester City can confirm that defender Lucy Bronze will depart the club at the end of her current contract this summer.

    "The defender will bring the curtain down on her second spell at the Academy Stadium and five years altogether in sky blue next month, having made 111 appearances and scored 14 goals."

    Bronze has been a league and Women's FA Cup winner with City, but her greatest run of success came in a three-year spell at Lyon, where she helped the French giants land the Champions League three times.

    Scotland midfielder Caroline Weir is also leaving City, the club said this week, while versatile forward Georgia Stanway has agreed to join Bayern Munich.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.