Liverpool FC drop points at Anfield as a controversial penalty earns them a draw against Aston Villa.
This draw ended Liverpool’s winning streak at home in the league, who have won their last seven matches at Anfield in the league before this fixture. This was only the second time they have dropped points at home this season – the first being the 0-1 defeat against Southampton back in September. The Reds can now drop down to fifth if Everton manage to win their match against West Brom on Monday. That will in fact perfectly set up the upcoming Merseyside derby on 28th of this month.
Aston Villa on the other hand continued their good run of form on the road. They have lost just three of their 11 away matches. Paul Lambert will be delighted with the performance of this side and perhaps the biggest positive from this game is that Christian Benteke seems to be back to his goal scoring ways. This draw will keep them at 10th in the table and should provide them with enough confidence for their upcoming home game against West Brom.
Brendan Rodgers went in with an attacking line-up as he dropped Lucas Leiva on the bench in place of Daniel Sturridge. Aston Villa was all over Liverpool in the first half and looked extremely dangerous on the break. Finally Andreas Weimann provided them the lead from a wonderful counter-attack with Benteke and Agbonlahor involved in it. Weimann steered home Agbonlahor’s low drive from the left and provided a deserved goal for the away side.
It took them only 11 minutes to double the lead as Christian Benteke scored his second goal in his last two matches and the Belgium international deserved it for the display he put up in the first half. It looked as if Liverpool were struggling to cope with their pace in attack. But just before the half-time Daniel Sturridge provided them a lifeline with a wonderful finish after being set-up by a lovely flick by Henderson at the edge of the box.
Brendan Rodgers made a tactical change at half time as he brought on Lucas in place of Coutinho as he looked to provide more cover to his defenders and Liverpool looked more organised in the midfield after his arrival. Then in the 52nd minute Luis Suarez won a penalty for the home side as he went down under a challenge from Brad Guzan. It was a controversial decision as replay showed that the goalkeeper didn’t make too much contact with the Uruguayan international. Steven Gerrard stepped up and converted the spot-kick with a wonderfully placed shot and won a point for Liverpool in the game. In the end, both the sides will be a bit disappointed with the result.
Brendan Rodgers wasn’t too pleased with his side’s first half performance, but gave credit to Villa for that. He also insisted that it was important they didn’t lose this game.
“I thought first half, we weren’t at our best and you’ve got to give credit to Villa for that.
“I thought they were dynamic and we couldn’t get any sort of flow in the game.
“They went 2-0 up and we are disappointed with the goals.
“But probably from our first little period of possession and movement of the ball we end up getting the goal, and that was important for us.
“I thought second half, we had much more intensity and ended up getting the penalty and we could maybe have gone on to win the game
“But if I think on it in terms of last season and in terms of where we were at last week against Stoke and against Aston Villa here, in those games we got no points at all and we got four of out of six points.
“Ideally, we want to win the home games and we’ve been on a great run here at home. But when you can’t win, it’s important that you don’t lose the game and I think we showed that character today yet again.” – The Liverpool manager said.
Paul Lambert on the other hand wasn’t happy with the refereeing decision and felt Guzan pulled out of the challenge in the last minute.
“I think Guzan pulled his arms away, that could be a biased view, but I don’t think it is.
“I think [referee] Jon [Moss] is in a good position to see it but if you look at Guzan he pulls his arms away, and I am sure everybody will have a different opinion but my own view was I think he pulled his arms away.
“Listen, you are up against the Kop End and it can be an intimidating place.
“Jon’s got a hard job, he has got one decision to make, but I don’t think it was [a penalty].” – Paul Lambert said.