Liverpool won 2-1 at Aston Villa thanks to Sadio Mane’s second-half winner, keeping the pressure on Manchester City in the Premier League title chase.
Liverpool’s title ambitions appeared forlorn after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham, and they were held to the same scoreline at Villa Park, but the Reds’ better talent ultimately came out trumps.
Much of the build-up to the game was on whether Liverpool icon and Villa manager Steven Gerrard could be the one to derail his former club’s quadruple campaign, and Douglas Luiz’s early opening suggested a surprise could be in store.
However, Joel Matip quickly equalized, and Liverpool began to seem the more dangerous, finally completing the reversal just after the hour thanks to Mane.
Following Liverpool’s poor start, a defensive mix-up between Kostas Tsimikas and Matip allowed Douglas Luiz to test Alisson and then hammer home the rebound.
Virgil van Dijk raced Emiliano Martinez to a loose ball in the Villa box, and Matip prodded into an empty net in the sixth minute to bring the Reds level.
While Liverpool struggled to get any real control in a tumultuous first half, the better chances continued to fall their way, with Mane heading narrowly wide and Naby Keita hilariously mishitting a 10-yard shot with the goal at his mercy.
In the second half, the game became more competitive, but Liverpool’s next clear-cut chance proved crucial.
Luis Diaz did well to pick out Mane on the left flank, and the Senegalese forward twisted his body brilliantly to meet the cross with a header into the bottom-right corner, with Villa failing to respond as Danny Ings’ effort was disallowed for offside.