Harvey Elliott was a bright spot for Liverpool, who were handed a 5-0 loss by Aston Villa to be booted out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.
With Liverpool set to face Monterrey in the Club World Cup semi-final on Wednesday, Neil Critchley took charge of the Reds against Aston Villa, naming their youngest ever starting lineup. The visitors, though, made a strong start, taking the game to their hosts before Aston Villa broke the deadlock, when Conor Hourihane scored from a free-kick in the 14th minute.
Three minutes later, Liverpool were down by two as Morgan Boyes turned the ball into his own net from Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross. An eight-minute spell late in the first half took the game beyond Liverpool, as Jonathan Kodjia capitalised on two mistakes to complete his brace and make it 4-0.
Liverpool’s misery was then complete deep into injury time, when second half substitute Wesley scored from close range. The scoreline, though, does not do justice to the young Reds’ performance, who did put Aston Villa to the sword. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Critchley’s charges.
Caoimhin Kelleher: 4/10
Kelleher was the hero in the penalty shootout against Arsenal in the fourth round. This time around though, the young Irishman did not cover himself in glory. Should have done better when Conor Hourihane’s free-kick went past everyone, including him. Not the most confident with the ball at his feet, although he did make a couple of fine stops. All in all, however, it was a bit of a dampener.
Ki-Jana Hoever: 6.5/10
One of the rare bright spots for Liverpool on the night. Hoever held his own against Trezeguet, rarely letting the Egyptian past him. Going forward, the 17-year-old emerged as a confident figure, linking up well with Harvey Elliott while being a constant outlet in the final third.
At a time when Jurgen Klopp does not have a natural right-back apart from Alexander-Arnold, Hoever seems to have a bright future ahead of him and should be in the discussion in the first-team soon enough.
Sepp van den Berg: 4/10
Another one of the highly rated defenders in the side, van den Berg was the player who would have been trusted with keeping the defence organised. However, that was not to be the case, although one should not judge him all too harshly owing to his nascent age.
Having said that, the youngster was all over the place and the number of times he was caught out of position was alarmingly high. Looks assured with the ball at his feet, though, which is a bit of a positive.
Morgan Boyes: 5/10
Like his central defensive partner, it was a trial by fire for Boyes, who struggled to keep up with the tricky Jonathan Kodjia at times. Unlucky for the second when the ball took a wicked deflection off his leg and into the net. There were some positive moments in the challenges he put in, but all in all, the inexperience showed at crucial junctures.
Tony Gallacher: 5/10
Jota was the livelier of the two Aston Villa wingers. So, Gallacher needed to be on his toes all game long. The young defender, though, was often pinned down by the double attack by Jota and Ahmed Elmohamady, with Thomas Hill not providing the required support. Looked good when bombing forward, showing a lot of quality on the ball. Part of his learning curve.
Isaac Christie-Davies: 6/10
Impressive performance by Christie-Davies, who put in the hard yards off the ball, keeping pace with Hourihane rather well. Reliable when transitioning from defence to attack, the youngster linked up well with Elliott, who was also the only player who created more chances than him (3). Showed exactly why Liverpool bought him from Chelsea.
Pedro Chirivella: 5/10
Liverpool’s captain on the night, Chirivella was oddly the experienced head for the visitors. With the responsibility he was bestowed with, the Spaniard ought to have done better to stem the flow of Aston Villa’s attacking moves. However, the hosts found it rather easy to overrun him in midfield. Did well to set the tempo of the game, though, opening up play well at times.
Herbie Kane: 5/10
One of those players who were left frustrated by the brilliant Orjan Nyland, Kane was denied by a superb save from point-blank range by the Aston Villa goalkeeper. Showed a lot of energy in the middle of the park, but in his keenness to make an impression, he committed an error, losing the ball in the lead-up to Kodjia’s second goal.
Harvey Elliott: 8/10
An incredibly mature performance by Elliott, who showcased temperament beyond his years. With the game lost, Elliott never let up the intensity, always running at the opposition defence and taking the game to them. Created more chances than anyone on the pitch (5) and was incredibly unlucky to not have an assist or two on the night. Surprising that he is only a 16-year-old.
Analysis of Harvey Elliott’s performance against Villa tonight. He was exceptional once again…pic.twitter.com/zzlTc7RYfJ
— Kloppholic (@Kloppholic) December 17, 2019
Luis Longstaff: 5/10
With Rhian Brewster ruled out due to an ankle injury, Longstaff led the line for Liverpool against Aston Villa. Like Hill, though, a full Reds debut was a bit of a whimper for the young forward, who was often let down by a heavy first touch. Never stopped trying, though, and will be eager to get another opportunity in the future.
Thomas Hill: 4/10
A difficult debut for Hill, who never really managed to get himself into the game. Looked a bit lost at times, especially with much of Liverpool’s attacks flowing through Elliott on the right flank. Will hope to impress if he gets another opportunity in the future.
Jack Bearne: 6/10
On for Longstaff, Bearne produced an industrious cameo, working hard on and off the ball. A decent performance off the bench.
Leighton Clarkson: N/A
Clarkson replaced Christie-Davies but did not have much time to make an impact.
James Norris: N/A
A forced change, Norris replaced the injured Hoever and barely had time to make an impression.