Good, Bad and What Place Does Salah Occupy? – The Last Word About Villa 1-3 Liverpool


Liverpool had a good day at the office, beating Aston Villa 3-1 on Boxing Day, and three Reds fans appreciated the pleasant festive victory.

Jurgen Klopp’s team didn’t have everything their own way at Villa Park, but in the end their quality showed.

Goals from Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk gave Liverpool a 2-0 lead at half-time before Ollie Watkins scored and then Stefan Baisetic put an end to the game.

Here, Henry Jackson from This Is Anfield (@HenryJackson87) is joined by Liam Togher (@liamtogher88) and Guy Drinkel (@guydrinkel) to analyze the beautiful victory of the Reds and discuss what place Salah now occupies among the greatest players in the history of the club.


LIAM: Firstly, a great result from the match, which looked like a real banana peel, especially considering that Villa started his life well under the guidance of Unai Emery.

The outfield defenders have been criticized this season, but both Trent and Robbo have been excellent, offering plenty of opportunities in attack, which felt like a return to our 2019/20 splendor.

Indeed, the whole defense was excellent, and Matip and Van Dijk combined to create a real brick wall when Villa was on the rise.

Nunes, despite his erratic finish, continued to work hard without having possession of the ball, and continued to want chances even when things were not going in his favor.

It would have been very easy for the players to dodge the game if the Uruguayan had been unlucky in the last two games.

Indeed, if he had not continued chasing the ball, which seemed destined to roll out of the game, our third goal would not have happened.

This brings us well to the main moment of the evening, when the young Baisetic scored his first goal in the Premier League, and we can be proud of it, because he took it with such composure.

It’s probably safe to say that we were all fully prepared for this guy, and hopefully this is the first of many.

GUY: The first good thing that caught my eye in this game was the play of Fabinho, who so far has been one of the most infamous underdogs in our wrestling season.

He just seemed more agile, more aware and, most importantly, more alive in this game. Maybe he needed a little break.

Similarly, I agree with Liam that Van Dijk has become more like himself again.

Bajcetic looks to be a very impressive and confident midfield player, and his goal was scored with the confidence of a recognized number 9, not to mention a teenage defensive midfielder.

Alisson is always positive, and although he was not subjected to excessive tests, everything he did was perfect, and he could not do anything for their purpose.

Henry: I agree with the guys that Baysetic’s goal was an outstanding moment – it wasn’t some meaningless goal when Liverpool were leading 5-0, and he brilliantly took it.

While Alisson, Van Dijk and Fabinho were singled out — they were all good — I think Robbo was the absolute strike choice.

He was great on both sides, and although Trent had a few questionable moments, it was impossible to blame the Scot for anything.

In general, Liverpool’s game was more energetic and cohesive than we have often seen on the road this season, which suggests that the break at the World Cup was good for them.


LIAM: It may have been a very pleasant victory, but anyone who watched the game knows perfectly well that from the break until Bajcetic’s goal, Liverpool were an unorganized mess that coughed up a few chances and seemed to succumb to pressure from Villa. .

If their finish had been better, we probably would have been thinking about defeat in this part, rather than a pleasant victory.

We got away with it here; we won’t do it too often if we insist on not exercising any semblance of control over the proceedings.

Also, although I praised him earlier, it still bothers me that Nunez is missing out on so many brilliant scoring chances.

You won’t thank me for saying that, but it’s impossible not to think that if the opportunities he got had fallen to Erling Haaland, the Norwegian would have filled his boots.

Let’s hope Darwin’s luck changes soon.

GUY: I’ll start with the strangest player in the Liverpool squad, Nunez.

I almost put him in the “good” section because he had such an intense game with his fantastic movement and relentless attitude to the game, but the guy needs to become a much more consistent finisher.

He also has trouble getting offside, but that’s understandable when he’s running behind 24/7, but with his electric pace, maybe he can handle running more carefully.

I don’t agree with Liam and actually thought Matip had a bit of a mixed game, defending well from time to time, but looking panicked when pressed.

I think Thiago had a bit of a strange game too — in the first half he didn’t seem too involved, whereas I thought Henderson and especially Fabinho stood out in that part of the pitch.

In the second, he seemed to physically fall, failing, for example, to press Villa’s goal, and he was correctly replaced.

This allowed Nabi to enter the field to make a positive impact, sometimes excluding his meme-like shooting.

Henry: I didn’t have any problems with the people in the series, although I agree with Guy that Thiago was kind of crazy at times.

My main problem was that it was too easy for Liverpool to create chances again, as it has been all season.

There was a time when the Reds led 2-0 and killed the game — now they never feel safe, and this is something that requires big changes.

Liam is right when he says that on another day it could have ended quite differently.

And what place does Salah occupy…

LIAM: Trying to single out a modern Liverpool player, especially one who is still at the club, among the pantheon of Anfield legends may seem like a thankless task, given what many of the club’s great players have achieved.

Put them too high, and you will face accusations of bias against novelty, ignore them completely, and it will seem to you that you did not watch Liverpool in the Klopp era.

However, the fact that Salah is now on the same level as Dalglish is evidence that the Egyptian king is on the same level as the greatest forwards in the history of the Reds.

Those who called his 44-goal season in 2017/18 a bizarre one-off achievement must be feeling pretty stupid right now: Salah has always been impeccable and magnificent throughout his five and a half seasons at Liverpool.

He belongs to the esteemed attacking company of Dalglish, Rush, Fowler, Barnes, St. John and Hunt – we won’t really appreciate how special he is until that terrible day when he will no longer be a Liverpool player.

GUY: In the context of Mo’s place among the great Liverpool players, it’s probably better to say that I’ve been rooting for the Reds since about 2002.

Salah is the first world—class signing left in my life and that only adds to his legacy, but in terms of my life supporting Liverpool, I would probably put Mo in second place after Gerrard, who is really impossible to displace because of his influence. while I was falling in love with football and the team.

However, Mo has just been the epitome of stability, and he may not have gone on to score 32 league goals in a season like in his first year, but he has become a more versatile player.

Personally, I would put him in second place, but I can’t argue if people put the importance of Van Dijk or Alisson above him.

Obviously, Dalglish, Souness, Barnes, etc. will probably be above Mo right now, but I can’t give my opinion about these greats.

Henry: I sincerely believe that Salah is now one of the five greatest Liverpool players of all time and is constantly striving to become higher.

For me, Gerrard is definitely number one, he’s my hero for all time, but I’ve never seen Kenny play, and Barnes was getting old when he first saw football.

What Salah is achieving is incredible and, as Liam rightly says, I don’t think he will fully appreciate his genius until he leaves.

The relentless stability with which he scores is almost unparalleled, but he is much more than just a scorer with excellent vision, speed, strength and elite thinking.

I would probably say that Salah is now fifth in the total number of bets after Gerrard, Kenny, Barnes and Rush, but I think by the time he leaves, he will be in the top three.

He’s a phenomenon.


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