No respite for Villa following a 0-2 loss to Champions Liverpool…
Curtis Jones celebrated his new long-term contract with a goal as
Liverpool put a disappointing defeat to Manchester City behind them to earn their first win as
Premier League champions against a relegation-battling
Aston Villa .
Jones, who on Saturday signed a four-year contract extension, sealed a 2-0 win for Liverpool after Sadio Mane had put the hosts ahead as Liverpool made it 24 consecutive home victories.
Jurgen Klopp opted for rotation in what was their second game in four days, with Divock Origi replacing Roberto Firminho in the starting lineup, both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita also given the nod.
Aston Villa approached the game knowing a win would lift them out of the relegation zone, with Dean Smith making five changes to his side that lost to Wolves last time out. Former Red Pepe Reina made his first appearance at Anfield since 2014.
The first-half was anything but the electric, incisive Liverpool that stormed to Premier League glory in the fewest games in history. They managed just one shot on target in a pedestrian half, while Villa offered promise – but no substance – going forward.
It was Villa who threatened early on in the second half, with Klopp forced to throw on a formidable trio of Firminho, Henderson and Wijnaldum after Alisson was forced into a couple of smart saves as the away side gained confidence.
The move paid off for Klopp and Liverpool, with Keita threading an exquisite ball through to Mane, who smashed home a first-time left-footed strike off the bar and in.
Jones, 19, then made his mark on the match just five minutes after coming on as a substitute. The otherwise relatively quiet Robertson crossed in for Salah, who headed down for the youngster, who volleyed home in style.
In victory, Liverpool moved ever closer to another Premier League record.
Four wins from their remaining five games would take them to 101 points, breaking the record of 100 points set by Manchester City in 2018.
Aston Villa, on the other hand, remain firmly in the battle to avoid the drop with defeat. They sit 18th, one point off both Watford and Premier League survival- The Standard