The League Cup Quarterfinal stage was set, under the bright lights of Villa Park a battle for one of the three major honors in the English game was underway against a Villian side of reserves and the U-23 Liverpool side. All lineups aside this is still an important game for the squad as Villa have been on a poor run of form which could be all cleared up by a statement win tonight. Also, this cup fixture afforded an opportunity to get some playing time for the supporting cast which usually warms the Villa bench. Lastly, the night allowed the Club Captain a return to action as James Chester was named within the Starting XI.
The first 10 minutes of the game were incredibly quick moving and open with each side having flashes of opportunity early. The Liverpool side got the first chance of the match which went well wide of Nyland’s Net. The Villa looked dangerous immediately having made attacking runs up and down the wings of the young Liverpool defense.
Soon after the opening ten minutes, the game busted wide open for the Villa. Trezeguet was able to make a crafty move on the right wing materialize into a free kick opportunity for the master of the dead ball arts: Conor Hourihane. The Irish magician set the ball and quickly took the kick, the ball swung in with some real pace across the face of goal and into the the bottom left corner. The keeper never had a chance, the ball was header towards the net from the initial contact.
14’ Aston Villa 1-0 Liverpool
Just three minutes later, the Villa were back in the attacking third having smelled blood in the young Liverpool side. The Claret and Blue were playing classic Deano ball as they won the ball back from the would be attackers, passed it from Taylor to Trezeguet, who made a fantastic dribble in the middle of the pitch then passed it to Jota and finally ending with the link up to Elmohamady who was able to put the cross in. That cross was deflected by the Liverpool full back and looped right into goal
17’ Aston Villa 2-0 Liverpool
The game then settled down and became relatively quiet with each side opting to possess the ball. The Liverpool side eventually crafted their best chance of the first half when their winger got some space and was able to run at Neil Taylor. The winger got off a little flick towards the Striker who attempted the Volley but Nyland stood resolute and stopped the goal.
Very soon after as Villa were attempting to play out of the back, the next opportunity came for the home side. The ball came forward for Kodjia to knock down and when he did possession was lost momentarily. Then Jota pressed the young defender and immediately gave up the ball in an attempt to pass back. Then Kodjia found himself in space with the errant ball and no one between him and the keeper. The striker slotted the ball home and improved the Aston Villa lead.
37’ Aston Villa 3-0 Liverpool
After the barrage of goals sustained in the first half, the Liverpool side attempted to simply let the rest of the half play out and regroup. However, unfortunately for the visitors, Aston Villa had other plans. Villa were back on the attack against starting with Taylor and passing to the other wing. The Liverpool defense tried to dispossess the Villa attackers on multiple occasion but the effort was futile. Elmohamady was able to get ahold of the ball and put in a low cross right to the foot of Kodjia. There was no doubt, the Ivorian finished and widened the margin. This was the last meaningful action of the half, at the whistle the action was all Villa.
43’ Aston Villa 4-0 Liverpool
The second half started much more quietly than the first and the open passing which was the feature of the game thus far. The silence broke with a well made Liverpool attack. The attack crafted with slow passing and prodding of the Villa defense which attempted to stand resolute but eventually gave up ground to the slowly surging side. The Reds put in a ball into the box from just outside of the 18 yard box on the left side, after a fantastic run by their number 55, the ball got a good touch and was headed towards goal. The only problem for Liverpool was the fact that Orjan Nyland was Johnny on the spot and deflected the crafted chance with a brilliant reflex save.
Aston Villa found their attacking prowess again in the second half around the 60 minute mark. This started with the attack featuring a well timed run by Kodjia which led to a shot which was -this close- from getting by the keeper, the move was called offside though. Soon after Jota was able to win a free kick for Hourihane in a similar spot as the first goal but the Irishman wasn’t quite able to get it in. The final attack of the flurry featured an attempt from Trezeguet as the Egyptian was able to get the better of his man on the wing but the shot went above the cross bar.
On the other side of the pitch, a Liverpool counter attack afforded them another opportunity to break the clean sheet. The 16 year old winger, Harvey Elliot, placed a well weighted cross into the box near the far post so the Liverpool 55, Herbie Kane, could head it home but yet again Nyland was able to get in front of the attempt and keep the visitors wanting.
By this time Dean Smith was trying to get players who were rested an opportunity to play, so in the 73’ he made the first sub.
Villa Substitution: Jonathan Kodjia OFF, Wesley ON
Very soon as Wesley came on, he was able to make an impact. The Brazilian Striker made a tight run behind the Liverpool defense, got a ball across the face of goal, yet no one could connect.
Dean Smith then made another change in the side as he took off the Club Captain, James Chester, after 75 minutes played in what looked to be a planned sub.
Villa Substitution: James Chester OFF, Kortney Hause ON
The game looked to have settled down in the last ten minutes but the youngsters of Liverpool had other plans. On their attacking end, the Reds were able to chain together some solid passing and opened up space within the box for shooting opportunities. However, Nyland was able to stop the small barrage with a tidy double save.
As the game came to a close, Villa had a couple of small attacks here and there until one eventually broke through. Wesley made a perfect run off of the shoulder of the Liverpool defender, got a well weighted pass, and put the shot into the lower right corner. This was literally the last action of the game as the final whistle blew.
90’ Aston Villa 5-0 Liverpool
This game, although having been against youngsters was a huge boost in confidence. The squad dominated the game, Nyland had heroic efforts at times, and Wesley got on the Scoresheet. Hopefully this form can carry on to the next against Southampton on the 21st