The final game of a rollercoaster of a season for Liverpool away to Aston Villa and still in with a chance of qualifying for Europe. But after last weeks defeat against Spurs it meant that Liverpool would have to better Tottenham’s result against Birmingham. So Liverpool would be looking to end the season on a high with a victory. Aston Villa have been on a decent run of form lately taking them clear of the drop zone which threatened them not so long ago. Unfortunately Liverpool’s old manager Gerrard Houllier would not be leading out Villa as he is still recovering from his health scare, but former Liverpool player Gary McAllister would deputise for him.
Dalglish had to make three changes for this match with Maxi, Carroll and Johnson all struggling with injuries, so Kenny brought Cole, Aurelio and fit again Meireles back into the side and hope for a good away win to finish the season.
Liverpool were supported with a very vocal support and they showed great respect to their former favourites Gerrard Houllier and Gary McAllister by chanting their names. They also were bouyed with the fact that Liverpool captain Gerrard was amongst them in the away end.
Liverpool started well but were dealt a blow when Spearing failed to recover from a bad challenge by Reo-Coker, Shelvey replaced the midfielder. Liverpool went close on the 15 minute mark when Lucas had a volley cleared off the line by Ashley Young.
Then Lucas played a ball through to Suarez but Friedal was alert to the danger. The game became littered with fouls and the game lacked cohesion. Then Carragher suffered a nasty gash on his forehead and had to leave the field to get stitched up leaving Liverpool with 10 men on the park.
Carragher was back on the park when Villa took the lead on 33 minutes when an Albrighton cross found Downing at the back post who smashed a volley past Reina from close range via the underside of the crossbar.
Villa were bouyed by this goal and had a good spell but Liverpool almost equalised when Aurelio whipped in a free-kick which Skrtel narrowly missed. So Liverpool went in at the half a goal down and with plenty to think about.
Liverpool tried get back into the game and started the second half well with Joe Cole miscuing a volley. Meireles should have scored after great work from Suarez but his side foot effort was saved on the line by a combination of Friedal and Dunne.
Liverpool were the dominant side now and most of the chances were theirs. Meireles looked to pass across the face of goal but Reo-Coker saved the day with a last ditch block. Then Aurelio fired a free-kick just wide of the post.
With time running out Meireles’ low cross found Suarez in the box but he shot over and Liverpool’s season ended in defeat and the prospect of no European football next season.
I thought Liverpool were quite unlucky to lose the game as they did have chances to score. Unlucky to lose Spearing so early in the game and the early part of the game was very stop start with a lot of fouls. The Villa goal should not have been allowed as Carragher was clearly fouled when going up for a header, the ball ending up with Downing who finished brilliantly. Reina didn’t have a lot to do in the game either as Liverpool had most of the play. Liverpool should have had a penalty as well when Dunne handled Meireles’ effort in the second half. Disappointing to lose the game and to miss out on Europe but it might work out well for us so we can concentrate on the League next season. So bring on the new season.
Man of the Match – Suarez- never stopped running and trying to create, brilliant play to tee up Meireles in the second half. A constant threat.
written by Jamie McLaughlin blog at http://theliverword.blogspot.com/