Aston Villa v Liverpool: Premier League – live! | Premier League

83 min A sweet half-volley from Keita, 25 yards from goal, swirls just wide. Martinez had it covered but it was a lovely strike.

81 min Ollie Watkins is replaced by Bertrand Traore. I think Watkins may have jarred or pulled something during a challenge with van Dijk.

80 min “Hello Rob,” writes Becky Scarrott. “I wrote the piece you linked to at half-time – thank you for mentioning it! Can confirm he genuinely is a lovely guy. Makes a mean cappuccino too.”

Referees with personalities and/or lives are emphatically a Good Thing. See also: Dean, Michael.

79 min After good build-up play from Villa, Ings’ speculative cross on the turn is booted clear by Alexander-Arnold.

77 min Salah has a shot blocked by Mings after nice play by Jota. A third Liverpool goal feels imminent, but as I say I’m not one for predictions.

76 min Tsimikas’s outswinging corner is headed straight at Alisson by Matip, quite an achievement given that Alisson is 90 yards away. I meant Martinez obviously.

75 min: Off the line! Mane’s clever chest/volley from the right side of the six-yard box is headed off the line by Cash. It may have been going wide by Cash took no chances.

74 min A couple of crosses from Alexander-Arnold, who hhas had an outstanding game, as cleared desperately by Villa. Liverpool have been much the better side in the second half, yet even then Villa had a big chance to equalise. They remain a threat is what I’m saying.

72 min Salah almost gets through straight away, running onto a long pass by Keita. Konsa does quite well to hold him up and then Salah overruns the ball through to Martinez.

72 min “Jon Moss will be selling a few more Beatles albums and Merseybeat compilations tomorrow!” says Terry Weston. “Humph!”

Has he been that bad? There have been a few decisions here and there but nothing major, or has my short-term memory gone to pot?

71 min: Liverpool substitution Mo Salah replaces Luis Diaz, who did nothing except create what might be the winning goal.

69 min: Chance for Ings! Watkins times a through pass perfectly for Ings, who beats the high line for once but then overruns the ball fractionally. That allows Alisson to charge out and make a trademark one-on-one save. Nobody does it better.

67 min I was just about to type that Diaz and Jota had swapped wings when Diaz made the goal. He’s actually back on the right now, a decision which would invite criticism if it wasn’t for Jurgen Klopp knowing a gazillion times more about football management than I do.

That’s an excellent goal. Thiago won the ball in midfield and found Mane. He moved it to Jota, who clipped a really good pass out to Diaz on the left. He ran at Mings and hit a flat cross towards Mane, who steered a superb header across Martinez. Mane was actually backpedalling as the ball came to him, but he reacted so smartly and controlled the header perfectly.

GOAL! Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool (Mane 65)

Luis Diaz moves to the left wing and makes a goal straight away!

Sadio Mane scores a deft header.
Sadio Mane scores a deft header. Photograph: Craig Brough/Reuters
Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) celebrates scoring.
Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) celebrates scoring. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

65 min Villa haven’t been as threatening on the break in the second half. It feels like Liverpool are slowly wearing them down before scoring an 83rd-minute winner, but I’ve never been one for predictions.

63 min: Liverpool substitution And a change for Liverpool: Thiago replaces Curtis Jones.

62 min “I’m not sure what makes you RT,” says Francis Mead, “but your reference to ‘Liverpoo’ at 32 mins may be an indication of Putinistic tendencies.”

What was it Frasier Crane said? “There are no accidents.”

62 min: Villa substitution Carney Chukwuemeka comes on for Marvelous Nakamba in midfield. I guess Douglas Luiz will drop into the bouncer role in front of the back four.

61 min “Bring on Salah for Jones,” says Joe Pearson. “Move Jota into the midfield. Put Mane in the middle. Please.”

I hate to break it to you, but Mane’s already playing in the middle. Salah will be on soon though, NQAT.

60 min Cash’s excellent cross is well defended by Matip, who had Watkins (I think) waiting behind him.

60 min This entry is exclusively for as-it-stands junkies.

59 min “My respect for Jon Moss went up enormously when he didn’t send off Stevie B at Leicester,” says Yash Gupta. “That day was my birthday and is still the most WTF moment. Still I want a Villa result for nothing other than another Klopp meltdown.”

The Stevie B?

57 min Alexander-Arnold thrashes the free-kick wide of the far post. It was a clever idea, to hit it across goal with power rather than curl it towards the near side, but he didn’t get the execution right.

55 min Liverpool have upped the tempo since half-time. Mane is fouled by McGinn 25 yards from goal, which gives Alexander-Arnold another chance. This free-kick is more central than the last.

54 min Mo Salah is among the Liverpool players warming up. Not sure why I bothered telling you this, as it would be more of a story if he wasn’t warming up. The front three haven’t played that well tonight – I’m loath to draw sweeping conclusions from one performance, but Diaz feels more natural and dangerous when he plays from the left.

52 min Ings flicks a neat through pass to Watkins, whose slightly heavy touch allows Tsimikas to make a crucial interception. That was superb defending – if not quite worth a goal, then at least worth 0.4 on the old xG.

50 min Coutinho beats van Dijk smoothly but then slips in the penalty area. Van Dijk had got back anyway so it wasn’t a clear chance. At the other end, Martinez just beats Diaz to a through pass.

49 min “I think Russia Today (RT) would give a less myopic report than yours,” eulogises Richard Mortiboys.

48 min Alexander-Arnold curls a gorgeous free-kick just wide of the near post. Martinez was flying desperately across his goal and may have it covered. May.

47 min Konsa fouls somebody, don’t ask me who, 25 yards from goal. The free-kick is a fair way to the left of centre, though not prohibitively so…

46 min Peep peep!

“Hi Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “Of course the really big game tonight is the first leg of the play-off between Inverness and Arbroath to see who goes forward to face St. Johnstone for a place in next season’s Scottish Premiership. If the reports are accurate, promotion could be worth as much as (brings little finger to lips) one million dollars to the winners. It’s just finished 0-0, so all to play for.”

I’m not sure why I laughed quite so hard as I did when I read “it’s just finished 0-0”.

“There’s something about Jon Moss that reminds me of Ernie Wise,” says Bill Hargreaves. “Jurgen just needs to place his hands on his shoulders at the end of the match and pat his cheeks. Funny old game.”

My respect for Jon Moss – which, I’ll be honest, was middling – went up enormously when I found out he had his own vinyl shop.

Popular comedian Ernie Wise
Popular comedian Ernie Wise. Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Half time: Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool

Peep peep! The scoreline is a fair reflection of an entertaining first half. Douglas Luiz and Joel Matip scored inside the first six minutes, and both sides had a number of good openings after that. The best chance fell to Naby Keita, who missed his kick 10 yards from goal.

Liverpool also lost Fabinho with a hamstring injury. The Champions League final is in 18 days time, so he still has a chance of making that.

45+4 min A spectacular corner from Alexander-Arnold, slashed beyond the far post at pace, is headed back across goal by Jota, and Cash makes a brave headed clearance before being clattered by Mane. That was a ridiculous corner from Alexander-Arnold, whose ball-striking ability is just extraordinary.

45+1 min Jones makes space neatly on the left edge of the box but then shoots over the bar.

45 min Three added minutes.

43 min Nakamba gives the ball away to Jones, 25 yards out. He moves to the edge of the D and shapes a curling shot that is too close to Martinez.

39 min Villa are really unhappy with some refereeing decisions, the latest a free-kick against Coutinho. It was a foul, but moments earlier Coutinho seemed to be taken out off the ball by Alexander-Arnold.

34 min: What a chance for Keita! This could easily be 3-3. Alexander-Arnold considers a crowded penalty area and instantly calculates that the best option is a calm pass towards the unmarked Keita, 10 yards out. Keita misses his kick and the ball bounces off his standing foot to safety. That was a great chance.

33 min Coutinho cuts inside from the left, plays a one-two with Digne and whips an imaginative shot over the bar. It was a typical Coutinho effort, just a few yards too high. He has livened up after a quiet start.

32 min: Mane has a goal disallowed! It was a fantastic move from Liverpoo, but Diaz was well offside before he gave Mane an open goal.

Sadio Mane of Liverpool nets but it’s ruled offside.
Sadio Mane of Liverpool nets but it’s ruled offside. Photograph: Ryan Browne/REX/Shutterstock

30 min “Is Allison having one of his iffy games?” asks Pat D’Arcy. “He’s due one every couple of years…”

He is, though we’re only half an hour in. There’s still time for him to make four quietly awesome one-on-one saves.

29 min: Liverpool substitution Fabinho is replaced by Jordan Henderson. He’s able to walk off, so it might just be a precaution. But I’ll be surprised if we see him before Paris.

28 min If they take Fabinho off now, and it’s a strain rather than a tear, he could still make the Champions League final in 18 days time. He must be a huge doubt for the FA Cup final though.

27 min It looks like Fabinho has injured his left hamstring. This is a huge worry for Liverpool, as he’s basically irreplaceable.

Fabinho comes off injured.
Fabinho comes off injured. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images/Reuters

26 min Coutinho’s deep, angled cross is headed down dangerously by Mings and cleared by Matip. Liverpool look really vulnerable defensively.

24 min: Chance for Ings! This is a cracking game. Villa take a short corner on the left and work it back to McGinn, whose beautiful outswinging cross is headed over by Ings eight yards out. That was a really good chance, with Alisson in no man’s land.

23 min Villa’s counter-attacking threat is such that Fabinho is having to put out a lot of fires, not always by conventional or legal means. He’s been penalised a couple of times but not yet booked.

21 min Play the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme: Alisson receives a pass from Fabinho just outside the area, kicks the ball straight at Watkins and is lucky that it rebounds straight to him. Even then he almost fell over, such was his panic, but he gathered himself in time to clear.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson scrambles to clear the ball.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson scrambles to clear the ball. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

19 min: Just wide from Mane! Tsimikias – what a good player he is by the way – swings over a lovely cross from the left. Mane towers over Mings and powers a header back across goal that flies just wide. Martinez didn’t move.

18 min Jota’s slightly tame shot is blocked by Konsa. But this is starting to look a little ominous for Villa.

18 min Jota is fouled neared the corner flag by Konsa, a daft piece of defending. Tsimikas’s free-kick is headed towards goal and blocked by Cash, who desperately boots the loose ball clear.

17 min “Whatever about Liverpool and The Bench, we’re certainly not seeing Villa on The Beach tonight, which is to their credit,” says Justin Kavanagh.

So which of the Villa team is Leo playing?

15 min The game is starting to settle down after that frantic start. Liverpool are having more of the ball but Villa are a big threat on the break. Coutinho has been very quiet so far; it’s Watkins, McGinn and Douglas Luiz who have been most dangerous.

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