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Friday, February 23, 2024

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Premier League: Liverpool vs Aston Villa: ‘After the game we spoke and everything is okay’

One step forward, two steps back.

After four really good performances and wins Liverpool went into the away tie against Real Madrid with confidence and the fans were optimistic.

That disappeared after 36 minutes as Klopp’s side were two nil down.

To be brutally honest it was a pathetic showing from the Reds especially given the context.

Champions League quarter-final against one of the biggest teams in the world and they looked like they were sleep walking through the game.

Now sandwiched between the two legs is a vital game against Aston Villa, the team that beat Liverpool 7-2 earlier on in the season.

Luckily enough there is no fresh injury concerns at the moment for Liverpool even though Naby Keita did get substituted off in the first half against Real Madrid.

In his pre-match press conference Klopp said: “Naby showed his quality, played important game for us and scored important goals, but the early sub was decision I made in that moment.”

“After the game we spoke and everything is okay.”

Maybe Naby Keita will get another chance against Villa then as it is not a great look  getting subbed off in the first half for a tactical reason.

Many fear that this could be the end of the road for his Liverpool career after so many injuries and inconsistent performances but hopefully he will get another chance against Dean Smith’s side.

Aston Villa do have a big injury concern though.

Key man Jack Grealish who has lit up the Premier League at times this season will again be missing.

Dean Smith said: “Myself and Jack were quite optimistic to get him back a bit sooner than he probably should, and he’s had a setback that will probably put him back a couple of weeks.”

Trezeguet was the man who stepped up in his absence in their last game scoring twice to turn the match against Fulham on its head.

So he will be the danger man that Liverpool’s backline will have to look out for after they got the run around in Madrid in midweek.

Unfortunately Nat Phillips looked slightly out of his depth which is completely acceptable.

Kabak was ok but he is a young centre back who’s been rushed into a foreign team and he was up against one of the best strikers in the modern era.

Whereas Trent Alexander-Arnold looked all over the place in the first half and Andy Robertson looked knackered.

He needs to be given a rest against Villa as well as Sadio Mane.

The pair who have been immaculate down the left hand side for the past two years look like they’ve ran themselves into the ground.

Kostas Tsimikas should hopefully be given his full Premier League debut whilst the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri or Roberto Firmino could replace Sadio Mane. 

After a shocking run of home form Liverpool cannot afford another loss here and they certainly cannot afford another performance like the one against Real Madrid.

Otherwise it’ll be bye bye top four. 

Written by Elliot Thompson

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