It was a frustrating end to Liverpool’s winning run as they were held to a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa in Anfield’s curtain-closer. Jacob Ramsey’s strike inside half an hour came shortly after Ollie Watkins squandered an opportunity to put Unai Emery’s side ahead from the penalty spot. The Reds nicked a late equaliser and it couldn’t have come from anyone else, could it? Roberto Firmino capped his Anfield farewell by steering home a delightful Mohamed Salah ball shortly before injury time to secure a point. Adam Beattie (@beatts94), Jack Gill (@jacklfcgill) and Morgan O’Sullivan discussed the campaign’s last home encounter, with the focus on what went wrong from Liverpool’s point of view, what they would have done differently if they were in Jurgen Klopp’s shoes, the shocking refereeing performance, who stood out for the Reds and a word on their departing players.
At the end of the day, Liverpool played well enough to secure the win but lacked an end product. Trent Alexander-Arnold was just off it and they made it easier for Emiliano Martinez by delivering balls that were too comfortable for him. Gamesmanship aside, Villa looked like a well-oiled machine under Emery and it will be interesting to see how far he can take them when he gets a pre-season under his belt.
Jurgen Klopp and his team should have seen it coming as Villa have been notorious for time-wasting since Emery took over and have had more bookings for it than any other Premier League team this season. They needed to start quickly and they didn’t, which allowed Villa to go ahead and do what they do best by being an annoying, pain in the arse and frustrating the s**t out of them.
The refereeing performance was truly awful as he just couldn’t get a grip on the game at all. There were so many issues and it is hard to think of a worse example. Until someone is actually sent off, the play-acting is here to stay. Mings should have been sent off for taking out Gapko, but the disallowed goal and penalty denied by VAR are baffling. The only thing he can be given credit for is the lengthy stoppage time he gave in both halves.
Alisson was the standout player for the Reds as he produced yet another fantastic performance. Virgil van Dijk looked superb as well and dealt with the threat of Villa all day without putting a foot wrong. Bobby Firmino also stood out with another important goal for LFC and a good performance from the bench.
It was an emotional farewell for Bobby Firmino, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita as they all played a role in bringing the title back to Anfield. Bobby is an exceptional footballer, one of the most underrated players the Premier League has seen, Milner is a leader, a winner and a professional that is hard to come by in the modern game, Oxlade-Chamberlain leaves with memories of what could have been and Naby Keita will move on with injuries truly robbing him of his potential.