Liverpool saw a spirited second-half performance from Aston Villa to take a 3–1 victory at Villa Park on Boxing Day.
The Reds were far from their best, but the three crucial points mean that Jurgen Klopp’s side are now back on the hunt for a top-four finish.
This was also the first time the Merseyside team had won three consecutive games since finishing strong last season.
Salah opens the scoring
Mohammed Salah opened the scoring for the Reds in the fifth minute after right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold found Andy Robertson with a mad long ball, the latter putting it on a board for the Egyptian to give Liverpool a quick start.
The goal meant that Salah has now equaled club legend Kenny Dalglish’s goalscoring record for Anfield. This was also Roberton’s 54e assisting in 231 games, the highest by any defender in Premier League history.
Liverpool could easily have been 2-0 up had Darwin Nunez not missed a golden opportunity as he came through on goal to beat only Olsen on the half hour mark.
Virgil Van Dijk soon doubled the lead in the 37e minute after Alexander-Arnold’s corner which saw his effort deflected off Ezri Konsa’s left past the helpless Robin Olsen into the Villa goal. Liverpool were cruising at half-time and Villa had little grip on the game.
Aston Villa finally converts chances into a goal
However, the hosts started the better of the two after the break and had a goal disallowed from Ollie Watkins, who appeared to be just offside in the run-up to the goal.
John McGinn turned down a glorious opportunity in the 48e minute after being found by left-back Lucas Digne. Unmarked at the far post, McGinn was unsure whether to hit or head the ball and saw the ball hit his shoulder before rolling to Alisson in the Liverpool goal.
However, Watkins pulled one back for the home side with a strong header after Douglas Luiz’s superb ball from the right wing. Pulling away from Joel Matip, the striker placed his superb header past Alisson to give the Villains some hope with 30 minutes remaining.
Nunez missed a big chance in the 75e minute to put the game to bed, but the Uruguayan shot wide after being put on target by Salah.
Four minutes later, however, it was a teenage substitute who made it 3-1 by dinking the ball over Olsen and passing it through Tyrone Mings’ legs with great composure.
The 18-year-old had only been on the pitch for a few minutes and his goal meant the Spaniard became the third-youngest goalscorer in Liverpool’s history, behind Michael Owen and Raheem Sterling.
This was Bajcetic’s second Premier League appearance and scoring the goal meant he became the youngest Spanish goalscorer in the Premier League since Cesc Fabregas in 2004.
Liverpool are currently sixth in the table with 25 points in 15 games, one point behind arch rivals Manchester United and 4 points behind Tottenham Hotspur for a top four finish.
Photo credit: IMAGO / Propaganda photo
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