The first half saw Villa largely perform pretty poorly. They clearly looked like a team tired from playing two very physical, hard-fought matches in the past week. Liverpool bossed Villa around the pitch and did a very smart job of not putting their entire attack forward. This made sure that Villa's vaunted counter had nowhere to go. In the 21st minute, Liverpool scored what seemed like the inevitable goal, as Daniel Sturridge used a great bit of footwork to find his second goal of the season. He seemed to have gone too far in beating Brad Guzan, but a nifty slide with his left foot popped the ball into the top of the net. Villa had a nice chance from a corner later in the half, but Christian Benteke's gorgeous shot (from no space) was deflected deftly by Simon Mignolet.
In the second half, Villa looked a bit brighter. Sometime around the 51st minute, Agger and Guzan both went up for a ball and collide quite hard. Luckily Guzan popped back up. Can't imagine losing him. Leandro Bacuna took a free kick in the 55th minute and continued his terrible-awful-no-good day. Not a good showing from him in his Villa Park debut. So it was surprising that when Paul Lambert's first sub was Karim El Ahmadi for Matthew Lowton instead of Bacuna. After all of his subs had been used, Lambert had brought on Aleksandar Tonev and Nicklas Helenius as well to play the 4-2-4 I've been waiting to see. It was... underwhelming. Villa just couldn't create any pressure at all.
So, that's three points and an even goal differential from the really tough opening 3 matches. How do you feel? Happy with the outcome? Wish for more? If you'd have told me that nine days ago, I think I'd be happy, but after today it feels like a bit of a dissapointment. But, let us know what you think in the comments.