Teenager Stefan Bajcetic makes instant impact in Liverpool win at Aston Villa

This was not a vintage Liverpool overall performance by using any stretch but there have been glimmers of sparkle as they dispatched Aston Villa and put their foot again at the accelerator in pursuit of the pinnacle four.

Mohamed Salah got the ball rolling, equalling Kenny Dalglish’s goalscoring mark for Liverpool in nearly double-brief time before Virgil van Dijk multiplied Liverpool’s first-half of benefit. Villa deservedly spoke back via Ollie Watkins but a composed end via the 18-12 months-antique substitute Stefan Bajcetic for his first Liverpool aim left the away help damn through their version of a Christmas classic. “Merry Christmas, Everton!” they sang in birthday celebration.Jürgen Klopp’s festive message to supporters touched on numerous subject matters, from his admiration for Love Actually to the “loopy international we’re living in in the mean time”, and from Liverpool’s Champions League final defeat in May – “Mr Courtois had a pretty precise day” – to, most pertinently, transferring to “within punching distance” of the pinnacle four. Within 37 exciting minutes here, they’d homed in on fourth-located Tottenham, whom they may be now five factors in the back of with a game in hand.

This recreation become energetic, once in a while so open it turned into silly and, now and again, slapstick, a Wacky Races of kinds. Take, for example, the instant whilst the Villa centre-back Ezri Konsa, facing his own purpose, made a hash of a clearance that rocketed into the sky. When the ball dropped Darwin Núñez, who changed into tireless but erratic by using the equal degree, took purpose but his shot cannoned off his shin and harmlessly closer to Robin Olsen, who deputised for Emi Martínez, the Argentina goalkeeper who had grow to be the primary Villa player to win the World Cup.

Klopp may want to most effective grin and shrug his shoulders whilst requested for his thoughts on Trent Alexander-Arnold’s position within the buildup to Salah’s opener. It stemmed from Andy Robertson’s corner, which changed into cleared as far as Alexander-Arnold about forty yards from the Villa intention. The proper-lower back allowed the ball to bounce, took a hint and used a piece of residue fizz to ping a delicious pass into the route of Robertson with the outside of his proper boot. Robertson took the ball in his stride and rolled it throughout aim with his first touch for the lurking Salah to faucet in.Robertson’s clever thinking resulted in his 54th Premier League assist, eclipsing Leighton Baines’s report for a defender. For Salah, it became his 172nd Liverpool aim, in his 277th appearance. Dalglish reached that determine in 515 video games. “When you are referred to within the identical sentence as Sir Kenny Dalglish you then did some thing proper so it’s a massive moment,” Klopp stated.Alexander-Arnold was the difficulty of plenty debate in the buildup to the World Cup, wherein he played 33 minutes, and the England defender exhibited both sides of his game right here. Liverpool had not convinced defensively and with the hour mark looming Villa have been subsequently rewarded for their staying power, albeit they have been 2-zero down with the aid of then.

It regarded apt that during an blunders-strewn recreation the Villa intention got here from some other comedic clearance. This time Alexander-Arnold inadvertently hoofed the ball from one aspect of the pitch to the alternative. The ball landed at John McGinn’s feet and he located Douglas Luiz, who despatched a curling cross into the container. Watkins released himself in among a flat-footed Alexander-Arnold and Joël Matip and steered his header into the a long way nook of Alisson’s intention. Klopp must have feared it turned into coming. Watkins had had an early 2nd-half of strike, additionally from a Douglas Luiz skip, ruled offside.

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