Another fine Daniel Sturridge goal ensured that Liverpool continued their good form in the opening stages of the season, overcoming a tired Aston Villa team 1-0.
The home side seemed to lack the same spark that had helped them beat Arsenal and nearly upset Chelsea in the first week of the season. Liverpool looked fresh and were playing good football from the first whistle, their midfield dominating Villa Park with ease.
Philippe Coutinho’s understanding with Sturridge was again superb, as it had been in their previous game against Stoke, and it was this comprehension of each other’s play that led to the only goal of the game. Coutinho expertly dummied Jose Enrique’s cross into Sturridge’s path, and the England international superbly shimmied his way past the attentions of Antonio Luna, made a mockery of Brad Guzan, and finished sublimely into the roof of the net.
Villa made a desperately needed improvement after the break, and found a renewed sense of purpose in the game. Christian Benteke had a curling shot tipped around the post by Simon Mignolet, who again endeared himself to the Liverpool fans.
Benteke nearly won a penalty for Villa when he collided with Kolo Toure, who was unrelenting in his attempts to close down the Belgian. However, referee Mark Clattenburg waved away the appeals, as he did in the dying moments of the game when Sturridge was felled by Guzan.
Overall, Liverpool fans will be feeling optimistic about their side’s chances this season. Aston Villa have given a good account of themselves in their three brutal opening fixtures as well, and will look to build on a solid start.
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