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Liverpool 1-0 Aston Villa: Salah’s penalty wins it on Gerrard’s return to Anfield

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All eyes were on the touchline pre-match as Steven Gerrard received the applause of Anfield and then a quick pre-match handshake from Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool started bright, although the atmosphere was strangely subdued. A Gerrard chant started in the Kop but it was quickly drowned out by ‘Liverpool, Liverpool’.

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On the pitch, Andy Robertson had the majority of the chances in the first 45, with one header low down forcing a good save.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, deputising as the Reds’ no.9, forced a save with a shot from distance. Sadio Mane got in behind but the end pass or finish was lacking.

Villa were well organised and frustrated Klopp’s side, keeping Mo Salah in particular very quiet.

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After the break, the first decent chance arrived when Van Dijk headed from a corner to force a save.

Referee Stuart Atwell’s continued incompetence riled up the Kop and with it the atmosphere heated things up, Liverpool responding on the pitch with better attacking forays.

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Diogo Jota replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain with half an hour to go and Liverpool’s pressure eventually broke when Tyrone Mings brought down Salah in the 65th minute.

 

Salah stepped up and hammered the spot-kick into the bottom corner of the Kop net for his 21st goal of the season in all competitions.

The game should have been wrapped up with 10 minutes remaining when the Reds broke three vs. one with Mane, Salah and Jota, but somehow Salah couldn’t finish it.

Villa pushed for an equaliser and had a shout for a penalty after an incident between Danny Ings, Joel Matip and Alisson.

Another huge chance went wasting in stoppage time when Jota lifted his shot over the bar.

The win keeps Liverpool a point behind league leaders Man City.

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