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Liverpool collected all three points at Anfield on Saturday afternoon as Brendan Rodgers let out a sigh of relief having watched his side secure a much needed win. The victory though wasn't as sweet as it could have been with the Reds conceding two goals in the process.
Things got off to a brilliant start for Liverpool as James Milner bagged a goal just after a minute into the game. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho, the ex Villa man picked up the ball just outside the box and sent his effort low to the right. To be fair, an early goal was exactly what the Reds needed, mainly to calm the fans down and to steady the nerves of the team and the manager.
The remainder of the first half was uneventful really as Liverpool created some half chances namely via the likes of Ings and some long range efforts. Villa also had some opportunities particularly after a poor clearance from Emre Can allowed the ball to fall to Gestede however his shot flew wide.
In the second half the game began to feel like a more even contest but it was Liverpool once again who got off the mark first. This time it was Daniel Sturridge's turn, a pass from Milner allowed the striker to take the shot first time and with a left footed volley he put his side 2-0 up.
It was fantastic to see Sturridge back to his best, it's of course frustrating that he gets injured on a frequent basis but credit given when due, he always returns with goals. There aren't many players that can instantly create such an impact after such a long time out and I'm so glad he's back!
Seven minutes later and Villa's best player; Gestede had got them back into the game. A cross from Hutton flew directly into the box where Gestede was left completely unmarked, no pressure at all from the Liverpool defence and he tapped home with ease.
As tension grew for the Reds luckily that man Daniel Sturridge was ready once again. This time some beautiful link up play between himself and Coutinho saw the latter back heel a pass to Sturridge in the box allowing him to finish with style to the right of goal. It was a cracking effort and showed a glimmer of how things could be for Liverpool going forward.
Villa though were not done yet, just four minutes later and they'd found themselves a second. A cross from Jordan Amavi after a quick break flew in to, yes you guessed it; Gestede. He headed home with relative ease and you have to wonder why our defence failed to target such a dangerous forward.
In the closing stages a great free kick from Coutinho was saved in style by Guzan but it didn't matter as the Reds held on to their lead.
A win of course was fantastic for Liverpool but I think it is very easy to get carried away and it's vital to remember that this was a win by a small margin in a game we should have bossed. Villa haven't been very good at all this season yet here they are scoring two at Anfield and almost turning the tables. I don't mean to be pessimistic but I won't allow myself to feel too excited with a win over Villa at home.
Let's hope this is a platform we can build on as we face another Europa League tie and then the all important Merseyside derby next weekend.
I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are a few of the tweets I received:
@_TheLiverBird 3pts important. Hunger for the ball from many players. Overall improvement with more improvement to come!— FC Anfield (@FCDiablos1) September 26, 2015
@LFCKirstyLFC like liverpool of 12/13 high tempo but having to outscore opponent to win. Guess it's as good as we will get under Rodgers.— kyle cooper (@kycoops) September 27, 2015
P.s. folks there's only like one day left so if you haven't already please tweet this: "I am voting for @LFCKirstyLFC in @TheFBAs as best #Established blog"@_TheLiverBird Sturridge is going to be key for our top four hopes. The win is what's most important. A corner may have been turned today— Brian LFC (@jagusak) September 26, 2015