Liverpool secured a comfortable 3-0 victory over Aston Villa at Anfield on Sunday afternoon, with goals from Dominik Szoboszlai and Mohamed Salah, along with an unfortunate own goal by Matty Cash.
Szoboszlai made his mark for Liverpool, unleashing a stunning strike from outside the box within the first three minutes. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner had eluded everyone before reaching the Hungarian, who effortlessly slotted the ball into the net with his left foot, catching Emiliano Martinez off guard.
Alexander-Arnold, taking on the role of captain in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, due to suspension, was in top form. His exquisite lofted pass found Salah, who selflessly set up Darwin Nunez in the penalty area. However, Nunez’s shot ricocheted off the post and then deflected off Cash, who had recently moved back to right-back due to Diego Carlos’ injury.
The Anfield crowd sensed an opportunity as Villa’s high defensive line left them vulnerable to the pace of Salah and Nunez. Salah demonstrated his tactical awareness by letting the ball go to Nunez when he was offside from the initial pass, only to get involved again in the second phase. Unfortunately, Nunez’s delicate chip hit the woodwork once more.
Salah had a chance to score just before half-time with a well-timed run and trademark cut inside from the right channel, but his shot lacked power and was easily collected by Martinez.
The second half saw little change, despite Cash’s impressive header being denied by Alisson. Salah continued to torment former Everton full-back Lucas Digne, setting up Nunez on multiple occasions, but the Uruguayan forward couldn’t find the target.
However, the deadly duo finally combined effectively in the 55th minute. Nunez met Alexander-Arnold’s corner at the near post, flicking it on to Salah at the back post, who calmly slotted the ball home from close range.
Salah’s subdued celebration hinted at ongoing transfer rumors, possibly linked to a move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad. Nonetheless, Liverpool fans can take comfort in their impressive tally of 10 points out of a possible 12 heading into the international break.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa has some soul-searching to do after suffering heavy defeats in their matches against Newcastle and Liverpool. However, with six points in their own account and a European campaign on the horizon, there is no need for Unai Emery to panic.