Liverpool 0 Aston Villa 1: Three talking points as Balotelli disappoints

Liverpool 0 Aston Villa 1: Three talking points as Paul Lambert extends his impressive record at Anfield with a win

By Sam Rogers
Liverpool
0
Aston Villa
1

Valiant Villa hold firm at Anfield

It’s been a difficult start to the season for last year’s second-place finishers after a loss to defending champions Manchester City and narrowly beating Southampton – but they were taught a lesson in discipline by perennial strugglers Aston Villa at home on Saturday. An early goal from Gabriel Agbonglahor set the tone for the visitors as they turned over last year’s over-achievers. Resolute defending and a lack of cutting edge from the hosts meant the Villa smash-and-grab came at a difficult time for last season’s runners-up. They confirmed themselves as Liverpool’s bogey side as this was the fourth time in a row they had left Anfield avoiding defeat.

Liverpool miss cutting edge in the final third as Balotelli disappoints

For a team boasting so many attacking options, Liverpool looked seriously short of forward threat, with Villa quashing any problems caused by the home side. The hosts really missed the wide assault usually posed by Raheem Sterling, while veteran defender Phillipe Senderos did the business for the visitors. Having looked the attacking powerhouses last season, Liverpool have struggled this campaign and the supposed answer to the attacking question left by Luis Suarez’s departure is of course Mario Balotelli. But the Italian frontman looked short of answers against some disciplined defending from the Villains. Substituted with 20 minutes to go, Balotelli was underwhelming throughout and didn’t light up Anfield in the manner that had been predicted.

Rodgers left pondering where to go next after attacking mishap

Having seen his side fail to score at home for the first time in 31 matches, Brendan Rodgers will wonder where the Reds went wrong on Saturday evening. His side face a trip to Upton Park in the league next Saturday and will need a much improved performance going forward if they are to improve on what can only be described as lacklustre from the Reds. They will need a much-improved performance if they are to compete for the title two seasons running, while a first foray into European football for some time will prove a big test for Rodgers’ side. Liverpool have a seemingly easy return to Champions League football against Ludogorets Razgrad in midweek and will need a confident performance if they are to challenge in Europe.

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