Villa got off to a fast start with goals from Ollie and Buendia (deservedly MOTM) to glide ahead 2-0 inside of 12 minutes. But unlike league performances under Emery, it didn’t turn out to be a lead Villa could hold. There was a bit of sloppiness, bits of luck good and bad, and the usual attacks on the high line. But there was plenty to like, especially going forward.
Target areas? It’s all about priorities, how to stretch your money the furthest while getting better and deeper. I would think wide right, another striker, and a midfielder or two. Clearly, there’s no way Ramsey, McGinn, Luiz, and Kamara can play every match. Can’t see not having another striker option besides Duran, likewise a better backup keeper.
Staring down the threat of a relegation battle, the owners took decisive action in October and replaced Steven Gerrard with Unai Emery. He rewarded them with a top-half finish—and maybe more.
Big games are all about mentality and belief. Liverpool may well view the match as a valedictory lap on their way to an inevitable Champions League spot. But if Villa internalize the positive elements the game holds for them, they can turn it into just another match, rather than a celebration. And that’s how you get a result.
No real changes today, but welcome faces await on the bench. A result gives Villa a top-10 finish for the first time in over a decade. A win, and Europe remains distinctly possible. It’s all to play for, as they say.