This was better from Villa. Much better. Suarez controversy aside for one moment, perhaps we as fans saw glimpses of progress at Anfield?
Given recent performances against Sheffield Utd, etc, many were prophets of doom ahead of the prospect of keeping Suarez and Sturridge out for 90 minutes. Predictions looked more akin to Ashes results than football scores. Whilst we didn’t keep them out, Villa did, finally take a game of football to a team.
Pace and the counter attack has always been our alleged threat in recent times. Finally we exploited it. Liverpool were undone repeatedly in the first half, and whilst they look a better team under Rodgers, they are a million miles away from a title contending outfit.
Villa were rewarded with Gabby breaking, undoing the cumbersome Toure and Wiemann nipping past a largely poor Gerrard to make it 1-0. Startling.
Villa continued in the same manner and were soon 2-0 up. Diligent work from the midfield released Agbonlahor down the opposite flank, he delivered a sweet ball, Mignolet flapped and Benteke accepted a gift to head into the empty net. Deserved.
Now for the criticism. Liverpool were stung, but Villa allowed them to probe. Half time was seconds away, Suarez was afforded the freedom of Liverpool to pick a pass, neatly flicked on, for Sturridge to finished with some style. Undeserved, but all our doing.
The defending was poor, the reverse angle showing the back line panicking, arms pointing at runners, whilst little was done to negate the threat. Indeed, nothing was done to prevent the pass or the shot. It was both a poor goal to concede on reflection and awful timing on the stroke of half time.
Liverpool played better, Villa were good value.
But let’s cut to the chase.
Whatever your view of Suarez and his securing of the penalty, what has become of football?
Even if there was contact, it was faux contact. Faux, means fake. Fake equals dive. Yes, Guzan was clumsy, but he didn’t take him out. Where has the notion, or rather, the rule, of ungentlemanly conduct gone? I don’t blame the referee, he was duped, but the bizarre justification to go down spouted in some quarters is just illogical and entirely counter to the spirit of the game.
Put your colours to one side: Is Suarez’s conduct within the laws of the game? Are we seriously condoning his approach to young players and kids watching? Baffling. Indeed, ‘corrupting’ of football in more than one sense of the word.
I was left bemused by the ultra slow motion replays focus upon establishing ‘contact’. To me, it missed the point entirely.
A point is a great result. The performance should also be praised. Villa must now do this consistently and at Villa Park. Gulp.
And whilst we can bemoan our bad luck, we at least have our reputation in tact as a football club. Liverpool, once more tarnished, and for what? At best, a place in the Europa league?A tie up with a doughnut company? A player who will leave them at the drop of a hat?