Date: 11th August 2007 at 9:11pm
Written by:

Well, there you go, the highs and lows of football.

In so many ways we matched Liverpool today, in so many ways but one, quality. They had another gear to step into, we didn’t.

The game certainly wasn’t helped by the fact that we were down to ten men right from the start as the mercurial Stiliyan Petrov once again proved a liability and the fact Liverpool had 12 men, as Mike Riley might just as well have been in a Liverpool shirt. I’m sorry but he was atrocious today, must have been up for the ‘can I be any worse than Uriah Rennie’ award. Yes Riley, you can. Jermaine Pennant was on a yellow card. He raised his hands and pushed Wilf, that is a second yellow. Wilf got a yellow for his part but because Liverpool are a top four team, they can’t have red cards against them. Riley, you gifted them the game when Villa were already up against it.

Villa didn’t want for endeavour and hopefully against ‘lesser’ teams might be able to get some points, but when you look at the difference in the benches today, you can see why Liverpool will again be a top four side and why Villa again won’t be. They had Babbel to bring on, we have Harewood. No disrespect but if you buy at the bottom end of the market, you end up mid table or bottom end of the Premiership.

That said, our lads did as well as they could today, it isn’t there fault there haven’t been any quality additions to the team and they gave all they could. We tried to be fast on the ball but Liverpool at times gave us lessons on how to make insightful forward passes. We had our moments though and there are certainly glimmers of hope, I’d certainly back us to give most teams a battle and with a more solid keeper and hopefully a right back, I can see us pushing for Europe, trouble is I can see another 10 odd teams doing the same.

Today certainly wasn’t a disaster, Liverpool got lucky with their first goal after Martin Laursen (who went off at half time feeling sick and who had apparently not been well before the game – so at least it wasn’t an injury) scored an own goal. Villa of old would have let their heads drop but this season at the very least there appears to be a team spirit and they carried on fighting. We got the break in the 85th minute when Gareth Barry – who in my humble opinion looked a quality apart from the rest of our boys today – converted a penalty. That was it, we’d earnt our first draw most of us thought. But it wasn’t to be. Petrov gave the ball away once again, Liverpool came forward, one of their players got blocked and Riley gave an inevitable free kick. Up stepped Steven Gerrard, who to be fair had done very little all game hopefully thanks to Nigel Reo-Coker containing him, and one world class free kick later, the claret and blue hearts were broken.

On endeavour, desire and fighting spirit, it would have been great to see Villa get a point out of this game, but we don’t seem to get the luck and in my heart of hearts, I can’t say that a win for Liverpool was totally out of context for this game, bad refereeing or not. Some will agree, some will disagree I guess.

Our poll asked for your predictions, 25% were correct saying we’d lose. 25% said a draw and 49% had the wind knocked out of their sales as they expected a win. Our latest poll is asking for your man of the match, however there appears to be a technical glitch on the site so at present it isn’t showing!

Match stats: Click Here

Player Ratings

Stuart Taylor 6.
Very mixed, came out and missed a few crosses and corners, but also made some very good reflex saves.

Craig Gardner 7.
Was tough in the tackles and determined but isn’t a defender or right-back and did get caught for positioning. An extra point goes for him taking one in the gonads to save what was a sure goal. Ouch.

Olof Mellberg 5.5.
Not at his best today.

Martin Laursen 6.
Haven’t seen a replay of the own goal but did well considering he was feeling sick.

Wilfred Bouma 6.
Some good tackles, kept trying to get forward, had acres of space at times but didn’t always get the ball. Only quibble is he gives the ball away cheaply. Looked angry coming off.

Ashley Young 6.
Fast, agile, tried to get forward, did end up running into a few blind alleys though and to be fair, the Liverpool defence was fairly solid and very big!

Gareth Barry 8.
A quality apart, some lovely touches, well taken penalty and deserves to see the squad built around him to fulfil his ambitions – if not he’ll be off.

Nigel Reo-Coker 7.
Played the holding role and seemed to keep Gerrard quiet, good full debut for us in the Prem.

Stiliyan Petrov 3.
What is the point? What am I missing? Put Gardner in there and buy us a right-back for goodness sake. Should have scored but shot right at Reina, gave the ball away far too often. Major disappointment, can’t blame a lack of pre-season now. I wish it was him rumoured to be going back to Celtic.

John Carew 5.
Clearly not fit, so not sure why he was on the whole of the game. At least I hope he wasn’t fit as he did little and we did once again tend to hoof the ball up to him, I think he is more refined a striker – big bugger or not – so doesn’t need long balls into him.

Gabriel Agbonlahor 5.
Didn’t see much today. If I was Luke Moore – having scored so many in pre-season, I’d have been gutted at not starting today.

Luke Moore
(on for Wilfred Bouma 71 – Barry went left back). Didn’t really get any chances. The supply still isn’t get the right balls to the strikers.

Gary Cahill 6.
(on for Laursen at half time) Seemed to be ok, I like Cahill, think he’ll be a fixture in our side for years to come.

Nice to see Villa Park full and for the atmosphere to be so good. Lets hope we can keep it up when we play the smaller teams in the middle of winter! Great to see all the old faces around by me, win lose or draw, I do love the Villa !

Manager Rating
Martin O’Neill was very animated on the touchline today, not sure how effective he is whilst shouting at the players but I did like his rants against the ref.

Opponent Rating
Rafa Benitez for some reason has decided to do a working mans club impression of Tom Jones, albeit a squat sized one, with his goatee beard. Not a good look Rafa, but sadly for Villa, a very good team. Still don’t think Liverpool will crack 1st or 2nd this season, not unless Mike Riley is their ref every week.

 

48 Replies to “Villa (10 men) v Pool (12)”

  • shame we lost, but still great to be back down at Villa Park! Got to beat the teams like Fulham this year to be in with a shout of Europe.

  • Any reason why Bennett was swapped for Riley today? And if that was a free kick for Gerrards goal we may as pack up now. What for the future penalties for dirty looks! u bitch!!!

  • We really do need some quality signings unless we are going to be happy with 15th in the prem . We looked the same team as last year in my opinion .

  • Liverpool were never going to lose today. ‘Scouse’ Riley made sure of that. Diabolical decision for the free kick from which Gerrard scored the winner (he took it superbly though). I really had hoped for an improvement in the standard of referreeing this season, but it doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen.

  • the ref gave an unbelievable amount of frees against us today all Carew had to do was stand next to someone and it was a free.We were shighte though.

  • agree wtih dudley_villa, not really progressed and not seen the replay of the free kick, my mate was spitting feathers it was given, looked it to me but from his reaction I’d like to see it again tonight!! was a special free kick, only thing he really did all game, NRC kept him in his pocket the rest of the time.

  • Nice report JF – Agree that LPool only had to play most of the game in 3rd gear. We’ve got a long, long way to go to compete for Europe on this showing. MON will retire from football at the end of this season – just wait and see.

  • I just don’t understand how Petrov can continue to play so badly and get picked – he never even gets sub’d. I think he and O’Neill must be in love! On today’s showing we should have kept Davis and dumped Petrov. Maloney is currently a better prospect.

  • Pking – I personally though Barry was again awesome today but unless he gets 2 or 3 better quality players around him in midfield and up front, he’ll be away to one of the top Clubs.

  • “He raised his hands and pushed Wilf” Pennant didn’t raise his hands, Wilf did, see it again. I agree that the Gerrard foul was harsh, but so was your penalty. It was ball to hand, Carragher didn’t know where the ball was, how did Riley think that was intentional I don’t know. And to call Riley a scouser ref is hilarious. He usually sends off Liverpool players and give penalties against us, like today. “Steven Gerrard, who to be fair had done very little all game hopefully thanks to Nigel Reo-Coker containing him” Gerrard had two good attempts at goal prior to the free kick, one saved by Gardner’s ‘balls’, the second a good save by your goalkeeper, so Nigel didn’t contain him that much. Good luck the rest of the season.

  • The referee was absolutely awful, how can a player be offside when the defending player has the last touch? then should have been sent off for fouling JC. I think the referee should be hung drawn and quatered – petrov won the ball on the edge of the area and gerards momentom carried him in to him. Villa were a little short of Liverpool technically but we deserved a point. Barry, Young, and especially Gabbi were very very quiet although Young come in to the game towards the end. I hate losing to totally wrong decisions from ref’s if we were well beaten then fair enought, but we were not and I feel so strongly about how bad the ref was today. Total Shambles.

  • JohnDoe typical scouser, yes the decision would not have been given at anfield, but was a complete and clear cut penalty. full stop no arguement. Not given at Anfield, Old Trafford or maybe Standfor Brigde.

  • KSarge1, There have been many clearer hand balls against the visitors not given at Anfield, so what’s your point. My understanding of the rules that there has to be intent when the hand hits the ball otherwise it’s ball to hand and not a penalty.

  • Wow are you boys serious with the 10 Vs 12 thing? You were totally fairly beaten, thats the reason we didnt hear a squeak from the Villa fans for the first 45 minutes! Taylor had to make 4 or 5 outstanding saves, the first thing Pepe had to do was pick the ball out of his net after 85 minutes. Come on I quite like Villa, but if you seriously believe you deserved anything less than a loss today you’re deluded. It was a pretty soft-free kick, but I remember us losing to United last season because of a soft free-kick and I’m sure you understand just how many soft free-kicks are given each game. If you’re basing the whole reason you didnt deserve to lose on a soft free-kick which was then expertly and devastatingly scored by Stevie, then I’m sorry for that. We came with pressure on us, we gifted you a penalty and then we scored a stunning and deserved winner. The reason Villa didnt get a draw was because you didnt deserve one, and the reason we had to rely on a Stevie screamer was because of one man, your goalkeeper. Show a bit of grace in defeat, I expect these excuses of Chelsea but not you guys.

  • Nozz06 good luck in the future, torrres was fantastic 1st half and i concede that on the basis of the 1st half you deserved the points. But why do you always have to devote half your summer tansfer fees on referee bungs to prove your point!

  • We were very disappointing today. Last week we play ‘pass and move’ but this week just knocked long balls to Carew, which was totally ineffective. Liverpool deserved to win, but I didn’t think they were very special either. I thought it was a poor performance from Villa and the only thing worse was Riley’s performance. Although Liverpool were better than us we should have gained a point before that awful decision. Even Alan Hansen in his unbaised capacity agreed it should have never been a free kick as Petrov clearly played the ball before Gerrard ran into him. You hope these decisions even themselves over a season, but somehow I doubt it.

  • I went 2 the game 2day thinking the referee’s wore black tops. but mike riely obviously forgot to take his liverpool shirt off before the game!!! He was diabolical!!! Having said that Liverpool deserved the win even without the help of the Ref as they outplayed us from ball 1! If we expect to be fighting against teams like Liverpool we need to buy some good signings, but can’t see it coming!!!???

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