written by Jamie McLaughlin website at www.anfieldnews.com
After getting back to winning ways last weekend in a 1-0 win over QPR, Liverpool were hoping to build on the win away to Aston Villa. Aston Villa had been struggling recently but they earned a good away win at Bolton last week and would go into the match with confidence. Adding spice to the fixture would be the return of former Villa favourite Downing to his old stomping ground.
Kenny made a couple of changes to his side with Craig Bellamy coming back into the side and a big surprise with the selection of newly returned Shelvey to the team. The rest of the team had played against QPR the previous week. But Dalglish had a very strong bench to call upon if he needed to make changes with Carragher, Coates, Kuyt, Maxi, Carroll, Doni and Kelly in reserve.
The home side were the first to threaten when Petrov’s free-kick had Reina scrambling. But Liverpool responded with Downing cutting in from the right before firing a shot which was saved by Guzan.
But then in the 11th minute Liverpool took the lead when Downing’s corner kick was flicked on by Shelvey and then by Suarez before being blocked by Guzan but the rebound fell kindly to Bellamy who made no mistake from inside the 6 yard box.
With Liverpool’s great start to the match it got better 4 minutes later when Bellamy’s corner from the right was brilliantly headed past Guzan by Skrtel for number two and left Villa with an uphill task.
Villa responded with a couple of long range efforts and a good effort from N’Zogbia who hit Reina’s side netting. But Liverpool were always threatening on the break and almost scored a third after Shelvey saw a stabbed effort saved after a sublime nutmeg by Suarez.
With the score 2-0 to the visitors at the half it was Liverpool who created the first chance of the second half when Agger headed a Bellamy cross off target. Liverpool was going for the jugular now and next it was Bellamy the creator for Suarez who smashed a shot off the Villa crossbar.
Liverpool were in full flow now and Villa were hanging on as the chances kept coming for the visitors. Next Johnson saw a 25 yard effort saved by Guzan. Then Suarez produced a piece of magic only to see his chipped effort hit the inside of Guzan’s post with the stopper stranded.
Villa never looked like getting back into the match as they rarely threatened in the second half with Reina left mostly as a spectator and Liverpool looking the more likely to add to their tally. Liverpool ended up having to settle for two goals in another superb away performance setting them up nicely for the festive fixtures.
A big surprise with the inclusion of Shelvey to the side, but what a game he had, with confidence flowing through his veins. Liverpool got off to a great start with the two early goals setting them up to play on the counter attack, and how well they attacked with the amount of chances created. Villa did have a few efforts in the first half but in the second half it was one way traffic as Liverpool dominated. It was a great team effort away from home and the win should have been more convincing with Suarez hitting the woodwork twice.
Man Of The Match – Bellamy – his movement and work rate was superb and deserved a goal. He created so many chances with his clever play and he has proved to be a shrewd buy by Kenny.