Liverpool Keeps Title Chase Alive After Aston Villa Victory

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Liverpool came from a goal down to beat Aston Villa 2-1 courtesy of goals from Cameroonian Joel Matip and Senegal’s Sadio Mane, keeping alive its hopes of reclaiming Premier League title from leaders Manchester City.

Aston Villa started with Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins in attack, with former Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho supporting. Title-chasing Liverpool started with a front-three of Mane, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz, as Egyptian Mohamed Salah was rested.

The hosts took a third-minute lead when Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson spilled a header from Douglas Luiz straight back into the path of the Brazilian forward, who fired the ball into the net from close range

Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz scores against Liverpool

Liverpool fought its way back into the match and equalised three minutes later in dramatic fashion at the Villa Park stadium.

Virgil Van Dijk met Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free kick and although Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez managed to get a hand to his effort, Matip poked in the rebound.

Cameroonian International and Liverpool defender Joel Matip (32) scores against Aston Villa

In the second half, Liverpool’s defensive midfielder Fabinho was forced off injured, putting his participation in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea in serious doubt.

However, the visitors recovered as Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) winner Mane put his side ahead in the 65th minute with a smart header from a Luis Diaz cross.

It was Mane’s 15th league goal of the season, the third Liverpool player to reach at least that mark this campaign after Egypt’s Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota.

Villa striker Danny Ings forced some good saves from Alisson in the latter stages and had a goal ruled out for offside with less than five minutes remaining. However, Liverpool held firm to move level with City, for 24 hours at least.

The win moved Liverpool level with City on 86 points in the standings, but the champions have a game in hand which takes place on Wednesday when they travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

“It was always going to be tough and we have to keep going. We’re in the same position as we were before the game. It was a big game and another three points,” Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said after the match.

“We concentrate on what we need to do. It is another big game at the weekend, the FA Cup final and we have to recover for that. It is out of our control (the title race), we do not need to waste energy on that.”

Villa remain 11th and next face Crystal Palace on Sunday.


Chidi Nwoke/Reuters/Liverpool.

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