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Gerrard pleased with Villa ‘commitment and application’ as Liverpool return ends in 1-0 loss

Steven Gerrard made a losing return to Anfield, as a Mo Salah penalty fired Liverpool to a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Villa boss – who was unsurprisingly handed a huge ovation from the home support – saw his side put in a spirited and stubborn display in a hard-fought first-half, albeit with the home side enjoying far more of the ball.

 

As ever, much of the Reds’ attacking play was inspired by the full-back duo of Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, the latter man firing over earlier on, before his teammate saw a header well save by Emi Martinez.

As their dominance grew, Jurgen Klopp’s side saw a handful of penalty appeals waved away, while Sadio Mane also hit the crossbar with a looping header.

Heading into the second-half, Martinez was once again on hand to deny Virgil van Dijk’s bullet header, although the Argentine could do little to prevent Liverpool from eventually going ahead, Mo Salah firing in from the penalty spot after having been fouled by Tyrone Mings.

Despite a late rally from the away side, the Merseysiders hung on to secure all three points, the result seeing them keep pace with leaders Manchester City at the summit.

Speaking after the match, Gerrard admitted he was ‘pleased and proud’ with his side’s display despite the end result, while he also insisted he was frustrated not to see his side awarded a late penalty.

“I thought Liverpool were better in terms of general play,” he told Match of the Day. “Their style was better than ours, but we’ve done so well to contain them for large periods. Ultimately the game has been decided by a penalty. There were two penalty incidents in the game, Liverpool got theirs – if you look at that one, Salah fouls Mings first.

“It’s always hard to take when you lose football matches. We knew it was going to be a containing job. You have to ride the first 20-25 minutes against sides like this. We finished the game stronger, with more belief and some good opportunities.

“If an arm goes anywhere near Alisson, it’s a foul. So why isn’t a foul given for Danny Ings? They are the questions I’d like answering, but I can’t answer them right now.

“In hindsight, I should have thrown a bit more at it a bit earlier, but you have to be careful Liverpool don’t hit you for two, three or four. We’ve lost to a soft penalty because if you watch it properly, Tyrone’s been fouled first. The disappointing thing is that the referee hasn’t gone to look at it.

“In terms of commitment and application, I couldn’t be more pleased and proud. We have a tough game at Norwich in midweek. It’s an opportunity for us to go there, bounce back and get a positive result.”

Aston Villa are next in action against Norwich on Tuesday, before taking on Burnley on Saturday.

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