Villa are visiting Anfield, and for all the world it feels like walking into a buzz saw. We’ve all seen the hype, the impossible task, etc.

In the end, it’s just another match. But it is a tough one. Liverpool have lots of momentum, eyes on a CL spot, and obviously an emotional day with a number of pages being turned.

Villa have momentum of their own, an eye on Europe. But they’re away, facing a better squad and not filled with a sense of so much import. It will probably be about not not losing their heads as much as it is battling. Which could be the same thing. The more you mix it up, the less pressure you face.

It’s an old story by now, playing a big club and thinking a result is a bit of a reach. But I think the mentality of the club has improved. If Villa go out with positives in mind rather than negatives, they could well pull off a surprise. They’ve got the lesser burden of expectations. They’ve already ‘overachieved’. Now it’s nothing but gaining more.

So. It could go a couple of ways. But if Villa stay tight, calm things down and just get Liverpool into a match, then you never know. Me, I wouldn’t necessarily bet against a surprise. A win today would mark a huge step up for the side, and it really comes down to whether they believe they’re ready to make that step. If they do, then they’ll get stuck in, stay focused, and brush the distracting elements aside.

Good decisions, discipline, hard work. One or two players really stepping up and pulling others along with them. If Villa bring that for 90 minutes, well, why not?

Over to you.

Comments 68

  1. GLOOM! Bailey playing with Buendia on the bench. I need some education to understand this one.
    Ridiculous random thought – I’ve been watching Villa longer than Emery has been alive.

  2. Yeah, Brentford aren’t going away.

    Think it’s a more defensive setup/midfield battle Emery’s looking at, jbd, and a way to get Kamara in for that.

    Guessing Emi’s a second/half change.

  3. Our status must be going up. In previous years, Watkins would not have got that penalty (to miss), Mings would have gone off and Henderson would have got his penalty.

    Martinez is the epitome of ice cold Joe Cool. Just seems to amble on to every ball and just seems to say ” who are these annoying little red ants?”


  4. Yeah, did enough, MK. Obviously a shame on the peno, but I have a feeling we wouldn’t have had the Ramsey goal had Ollie made it.

    Shame in that clever free kick. Allison played it right, but that was the narrowest of saves.

  5. Stupendous performance from Villa especially considering they were only effectively 10 men with Bailey totally out of it and Watkins in poor form. Mings was a monster and my out and out motm. Did I say Martinez was totally cool?

  6. Phew ,no nails left,no hairl left to turn grey,no room for any more wrinkles but by god we have a team to feel proud of no to mention the greatest manager in 40 years

  7. That was a “game”. Both sides wonderful. 1-1 was a score both sides can be proud of. Brighton is going to be very interesting.
    We can see that Villa is a top team with the personnel at hand. A summer transfer will see them pushing top 4 next season.
    Very happy with the way things turned out this year.

  8. Next year I think we can go on to win games like that, and we were unlucky not to have another goal.

    But we just don’t have impact off the bench in midfield, Bailey was useless once again, and there’s obviously no real way to change the strike options.

    If Emery can make the right moves, I’ll like being able to rotate players, see more danger up front, all the rest.

  9. JG,

    I was nervous, I guess, especially knowing there was going to be so much extra time.

    But until they scored, and I didn’t think they were going to. Just had that kind of feel about it. And I thought we might hit them on the counter and get a second.

    Guess that shows how far we’ve come.

  10. MIssed the game due to pressing commitments. From comments above, it’s a game we might have won. Gutted to ship 2 points and missing a peno.

    Bottom line now though is we are above Spurs. Need to win next week against Brighton to stay there and get Euro footie next season. Can’t get my head around it given the dire situation when Gerrard was offloaded.

    A point at Anfield is always a top result. I’d have taken it at the start. Well done Villa, we are now competitive anywhere.

  11. Jc
    Yep definitely need some attacking options,and another thing is our team is fairly young so a bit experience would be a help beundi gives the ball away to easy under pressure it would have been great if Phil had been fit

  12. Wasn’t happy with the ref allowing overt aggression (not combative, outright niggly) from Liverpool all game with few cards only to wave them for the slightest hint of time wasting, it almost seemed like he wanted Liverpool to win. Would love Brighton to lose the next two.

  13. I’ve now watched the full match. The 10 minutes added time at the end was fucking scandalous. I’ve seen so many EPL games with much worse time wasting get 4 minutes extra. They might just as well have hung up a sign saying “we’re playing till midnight if the bindippers don’t score”.

    Tyro was immense in a whole team performance. Passing was crisp and slick. The high back line looked like the precision manoeuvres of a Roman army. Fabulous result.

  14. I like Klopp. . . . .but his patronising smile when he’s talking nonsense can be a little irritating. He really did go over the top when suggesting that half of the added time was wasted and we should have played 15 minutes of added time.

    Unfortunately for Emi, he’s got a reputation now and he isn’t doing anything to try and dispel it with his slightly obvious time wasting. Every team does it but maybe he’s taking it just a touch too far, particularly if referees are going to disproportionally punish us for it.

    Does anyone know where to find stats on how long the ball is in play? Was yesterday actually that much worse than other games?

  15. I remain a very big fan of VAR with analysis showing that it is working well and correcting mistakes far more often than not.

    Where it struggles is when the laws themselves are so open to interpretation or when they are very fine calls. Cricket seems to handle it better on lbw’s for example, where they’ll go with the original umpire’s decision even when ball tracker suggests that the ball would have hit the stumps, unless it’s more than half the ball. This is their way of saying, unless it’s a ‘clear and obvious’ mistake, then the original decision stands. It seems to me that if it’s taking several minutes to make a VAR decision, then there’s no ‘clear and obvious’ mistake and they should stick with the original referees call.

  16. VAR is used mostly for offsides. Instead of any part of the body being counted as offside make the offside only on the foot that is firmly planted on the ground as an offside. That would make life a lot more simple. Of course there can be exceptions to that as one could fly into an offside position without being on the ground at all. 🙂

  17. Ian and r0bb0 – both talking real sense: what a shame the game’s administrators don’t see things so clearly and sensibly!
    Since all the controversy around VAR, I’ve been tempted many times to suggest we’d be better off with no offside rule at all, and I do seriously think that, as an experiment, maybe for just one season, it might well be a good idea. I know the argument against that is the fact offside was brought in, back in the 20s/30s/whenever, to do away with “goal-hanging”.
    But the modern game is unrecognizable from those days and I cannot realistically imagine any top side employing a Haaland-type figure to just stand around in the penalty area waiting for ‘offside’ balls. Premier League football doesn’t resemble our old playground games any more!

  18. Last weekend’s fixtures delivered a couple of dodgy offside decisions. I saw 2 goals allowed that when the camera reply freeze came up, looked offside. Subsequently lines were drawn to reveal both “goals” were onside.

    It looked to me like the lines were drawn in the wrong place, but if it was that close, I’m happy to let a goal stand. Except…..both decisions mentioned favoured the sky 6/Laandaan clubs.

    I would keep the offside rule but maybe tinker with it. The standing feet for markers as JC and Ian suggest. You can’t be offside from a throw in, perhaps extend that rule to free kicks awarded in the attacking half.

    One improvement I would make is to remove time wasting when running the ball into the corners by awarding a free kick to the other side. I’d argue no rule change is needed, it’s obstruction when a player is playing his opponent rather than the ball which is what happens. Just needs refereeing.

  19. For me if its not seeable in a minute its not clear and obvious end of. My big moan is non flagging offsides and letting players desperately try to catch the forward who then clatters the keeper or gets clattered only for the flag to go up, If the lino can see it its clear and obvious. By the time our game ended it was nearly 5.30.

    Talking of technology I received a penalty notice for the glorious congestion Zone yesterday, at least 2 1/2 weeks after I went into it and I paid it the next day. Now I have to show the cnuts evidence that I have paid!!! and it states that if I have evidence they may!? May!? mind you rescind it. If I was given a free murder of anyone in history with no charges brought I’d kill the Mayor of London’s Mother pre-birth.

  20. Whingeing. Always works. Take my dog Lola, she whinges for a treat, I get fed up with the noise and leg scratching and she gets a treat. She learnt that in about 5 seconds.
    Ice hockey has an offside line about 1/3 of the distance from centre to the goal. Players can’t cross that line before the puck. Once inside of that line no offsides can occur. It would definitely change the game as passing back to mid field would essentially be eliminated as all offensive players would have to retreat back across the offside line. It would be interesting.

  21. Whatever the rules it matters not unless they are applied across all games with the same accuracy. However we are talking humans who given a situation will report it differently dependent on what they selectively remember and there personal bias. Maybe eventually with a 360 degree camera system controlled by AI will give an absolutely emotionless result time after time. What would we moan about then? 😉

  22. Jed Steer. Wishing you all the best for the future. In our promotion year, your performance against the yam yams in the play off semi final contributed massively to the cause.

  23. Have to say, agree with MK on the rules: application is everything.

    I would make the plant foot (not arm, not foot in the air, etc) the basis for offside. That one really rankles me. And likewise, obvious offsides not being flagged immediately.

    I also wouldn’t mind going back to old-school obstruction, but I suppose it evens out.

    On timekeeping, it’s fine if they really do have a true clock upstairs/on the sideline. If stoppages (besides throw-ins, a bit of playing around on GKs) are accurate across the board, then 8-9 minutes of stoppage is fine. Would probably cut down on time-wasting if everyone knew games would go to 100-105 mins.

    Again, just has to be consistent.

    I won’t get started with handball.

  24. I’m starting to wind up for Sunday’s game. It’s sold out and the ground will be riot of noise and colour. Bring it on. Can’t wait.

    Our local comic is still banging on about ESR incoming. FFS. Bailey is far superior. If this is the best they can do, time to do one. The Villa blogs are more informative and interesting.

    Which players are really incoming, we will find out before much longer. I expect most of the deals to be completed early in the window because that’s been the trend to date.

  25. Congratulations to Rachel Daly on being awarded the WSL Player of the Season. Fully deserved, she’s had a great season banging in the goals. Her heading ability is way above the normal and her contributions to the team’s climb up the table have been exemplary.

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