Liverpool Vs Aston Villa – [1/2]Soccer – Premier League – Aston Villa – Liverpool – Villa Park, Birmingham, UK – 26 December 2022 Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold in action against Aston Villa’s Emiliano Buendia Action Images by /Paul Childs License got it
Liverpool Vs Aston Villa
Striker Mohamed Salah scored for the visitors in the fifth minute after a brilliant move from marauding defender Trent Alexander-Arnold and Robertson.
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Defender van Dijk grabbed Liverpool’s second in the 37th minute with a superb left-footed strike after setting up Salah, who was proud of the finish.
Ollie Watkins pulled Villa back with a smart header over goalkeeper Alisson Becker in the 59th minute, before 18-year-old midfielder Bajcetic scored Liverpool’s third goal in the 81st minute.
Bejcetic became the second youngest Spanish goalscorer in the Premier League after Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal in 2004.
“It was great for him,” Robertson said of his rookie teammate after the game. “He really stepped up his game and was very smart when he came in.”
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The Scottish defender took Salah’s opener past Leighton Baines, who has the most assists in Premier League history for a defender with 54.
“I don’t like individual things. I’m all for the team. But when you do things like that and you’re up against some amazing defenders in the Premier League, it’s always good to put yourself first,” said Robertson.
Goalscoring opportunities came and went for both teams at Villa Park as they played the ball to each other and lived with defenders on dangerous lines.
Liverpool’s Darwin Nunes was a nuisance throughout and missed a number of chances, including after taking the ball off his shoulder.
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He won man of the match for his relentless running and the chances he created, including pulling back a Bajcetic goal.
Liverpool have 25 points, ahead of arch-rivals Manchester United in fifth place, but are 12 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal, who play on Monday.
After a slow start to the season, Liverpool are finding form and are in the top four and a coveted place in next year’s Champions League.
“When Stefan came on, he was outstanding. The genes are there, obviously,” he said, referring to Baycetic’s father, who is a professional Serbian player.
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Villa squandered chances, including two poor shots from Leon Bailly and a fierce close-range effort from Watkins in front of the goal. Everpool face another tough test early in the Premier League season when Aston Villa travel to Anfield on Sunday.
Unai Emery’s side have scored 11 goals in four consecutive games and conceded just one despite an 8-0 Europa League play-off defeat at Hibernian.
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds beat Newcastle last weekend with Darwin Nunes in charge.
In the UK, the game will not be broadcast live unless selected by Sky Sports or TNT.
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It was originally due to take place on Saturday at 3pm but was pushed back due to Villa’s European commitments.
Ryan Gravenbirch will not be available for Liverpool’s first game in time for this game unless he signs before the transfer deadline, and players must be registered for selection by 12pm.
Virgil van Dijk is also unavailable due to a one-match ban, while Ibrahima Konate and Thiago Alcantara are two injured players.
New Villa signing Clement Lenglet is unlikely to break straight into the first team following his loan move from Barcelona.
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Emery is still without Amy Buendia, Tyrone Mings and Jacob Ramsey through injury, while Amy Martinez, Alex Moreno and Leander Dendoncker face late fitness tests.
Villa came away with a point from Anfield last season and were fired up after an opening day shock at Newcastle. Avoiding defeat here could boost their aspirations of another top-seven finish.
The Reds have beaten Villa in nine of their last 11 league matches, with their only loss being the famous 7-2 defeat during the Covid pandemic.