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Liverpool 1-1 Aston Villa: 5 Talking Points as Roberto Firmino scores in his final game at Anfield | Premier League 2022-23



Liverpool 1-1 Aston Villa: 5 Talking Points as Roberto Firmino scores in his final game at Anfield | Premier League 2022-23

Liverpool secured a dramatic late 1-1 draw against Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday, May 20.

The Reds entered this contest on the back of a stunning run of form, winning seven consecutive league games. Their last outing was a comfortable 3-0 win over relegation strugglers Leicester City on their own patch. Knowing the Reds had to continue winning to have any chance of sneaking into the top four, Jurgen Klopp fielded a strong lineup.

Villa, on the other hand, entered this contest on the back of three wins, two draws and one defeat in their last six games. They secured an all-important 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur in their last game, giving them hopes of finishing above them. Unai Emery fielded a competitive lineup for this game.

Liverpool made a good start to the game and controlled possession in the early stages as they looked to score early. They looked to set the tone with line-breaking passes as they looked to carve out openings in Aston Villa’s defense. With nearly 60% possession in the first period, the Reds attempted four shots but failed to hit the target.

Villa, on the other hand, looked like the bigger threat in front of goal. They were awarded a penalty midway through the first half as Ibrahima Konate committed a foul. However, Ollie Watkins fired his shot wide of the mark. Youngster Jacob Ramsey saved his team’s blushes, scoring with a lovely finish to make it 1-0 after 27 minutes.

Tyrone Mings was booked late in the first half and was lucky to get away without a sending off as Liverpool trailed 1-0 at the break.

The Reds made a positive start to the second period as they looked to find a way back into the game. Gakpo seemed to have done just that, leveling the game just 11 minutes after the restart. However, Virgil van Dijk was offside in the build-up and the goal was disallowed. Both managers then turned to their respective benches as they looked to alter the course of the game.

Liverpool kept the ball for 70% of the second half, attempting six shots, of which five were on target. They had to wait until stoppage-time for an equalizer as Firmino slotted in after Mohamed Salah had done brilliant work to set him up for the goal. Despite there being 10 minutes of added time, neither side were able to snatch the win late on as the game ended 1-1.

On that note, let’s take a look at the five major talking points.

#5. Liverpool made a nervy start and were made to pay

Liverpool were guilty of making a slow start to the game as they allowed Aston Villa to pile the pressure on and create chances to score. Despite Ollie Watkins’ early penalty miss, the Villans looked positive going forward and were determined to get on the scoresheet.

They did that in the 27th minute as Jacob Ramsey fired in a lovely low shot past Alisson following a series of failed clearances by the Reds’ defense. The hosts seemed unable to get the ball out of the danger area and it was eventually played to a player who made a run towards the goal.

#4. It was Reds’ fan-favorite Roberto Firmino’s final appearance at Anfield

Roberto Firmino joined Liverpool in 2015 and took a while before becoming a household name on Merseyside. He was part of the iconic front three alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah as they conquered all of Europe with their scintillating attacking play. Prior to this game, Firmino had made 360 appearances for the Reds, scoring 109 goals and providing 79 assists.

While he has lost his place in the starting lineup a while ago, Firmino started from the bench.

#3. The Reds had a goal ruled out early in the second half

Having fallen behind in the first period, Liverpool knew they would need to respond soon after the game resumed or would risk being shut out by a resolute Aston Villa defense.

They managed to score a scrappy goal after 56 minutes as Cody Gakpo smashed the ball in from close-range. However, the goal was ruled out as van Dijk was offside in the build-up.

#2. Firmino scores at the death to level the game

Roberto Firmino came on to replace Luis Diaz in the 72nd minute as Klopp looked to give him a well-deserved farewell, as well as to try and alter the result late in the game. He put in a good shift during his cameo on the pitch and even managed to net an all-important equalizer for his team.

Salah made a lovely run forward before passing the ball to the Brazilian, who made no mistake and scored from close-range. His goal came despite having just eight touches of the ball and completing just four passes in 18 minutes on the pitch.

#1. This result virtually ends Liverpool’s UCL hopes

Following this draw with Aston Villa, the Merseysiders now find themselves three points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, who also have a game in hand. The Reds will need United to lose both their game and will need a win in their last game against Southampton on the final day of the season.

The Red Devils are set to take on Chelsea and Fulham in their final two games and will be expected to pick up at least a point to secure their CL qualification.

Paul Merson predicts the result of Man City vs Chelsea and other PL GW 37 fixtures! Click here

Edited by Arnav Kholkar

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