After The Match 


Aston V-Liverpool 1-1 (1-1)             Sat Dec 4.                  Premier League
Goals: Kewell (17), Solano (44)
Team: Kirkland, Finnan, Riise, Hyypia, Carragher, Hamann, Alonso, Gerrard, Kewell, Nunez, Mellor
Subs: Josemi (Nunez 45), Traore (Mellor 62), Pongolle (Gerrard 82)
Not used: Dudek, Diao
Yellow: Mellberg (79)
Red: None
Referee: M Halsey
Attendance: 42,593

                                             MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
Shots on target: 2-7
Shots off target: 1-5
Fouls conceded: 10-10
Corners: 3-9
Yellow: 1-0





"...if you don't
score what
can you do?"

                Rafael Benitez

0412: O'Leary delighted with point
0412: Rafa left frustrated by Villa draw
0412: Reds held at Villa


O'Leary delighted with point

By Paul Higham - Planet Football/Sky Sports

David O'Leary was relieved to get away with a draw against Liverpool.

Nolberto Solano cancelled out Harry Kewell's opener when converting a dubious free kick, in a first half dominated by the visitors.

Liverpool were left frustrated as they could not turn their dominance into goals, and O'Leary was glad to get a point from the match.

"I'm doing headstands over getting a point," beamed O'Leary. "I thought in the first half we got totally out of jail and were outclassed.

"I was worried all week because I thought Gerrard, [Xabi] Alonso and [Dietmar] Hamann would all be in midfield and that could be a bit of a mismatch in that department.

"We couldn't live with the quality in the first half and they should have scored more goals in the first half.

"They were able to almost walk the ball in the net for their goal and then we scored from a free-kick which is about all we did in the first half.

"In the second half it was more even in every way. To dig in during the second half was a plus point and I also thought the young lad Steven Davis did particularly well in midfield particularly considering the company he was in."

O'Leary was amazed with the display Steven Gerrard put in playing in his new advanced role.

"I joked to him, `don't you think you should come off and save yourself for the Champions League on Wednesday.'

"Gerrard had that licence to break forward and he is one of those certain players that makes the players around him play even better.

"I think when Gerrard is in the team they are a lot better and their players know that and are delighted to have him in there - and just imagine what he would have been like had he gone to Chelsea."

Rafa left frustrated by Villa draw

By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez declared himself a frustrated manager after seeing his side totally dominate Aston Villa but only come away from Villa Park with a point.

Benitez felt this was Liverpool's best away performance of the season but added his team weren't clinical enough as they should have put the game beyond Villa.

Benitez said: "I am frustrated as we played very well in the first half and created a lot of chances. We must have had eight or 10 good openings but if you don't score what can you do?

"We have improved the level of our away performance and the first half was just as good as the Arsenal game."

On the subject of Villa's controversial equaliser when Gavin McCann looked to have taken a theatrical fall after a challenge from Jamie Carragher, Benitez refused to offer it as an excuse for not winning the game.

Benitez said: "For me it wasn't a free-kick but I'll have to see it again on the TV, but that happens in football sometimes.

"We didn't play as well in the second half but we still created good chances and I don't think they had many. I heard the Villa coaches at half time telling their team that they had to keep the ball better and close us down. We did a lot of running in the first half so maybe some of the players were a little tired."

Reds held at Villa

By Paul Higham - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa.

The Reds took the lead in a first half they totally dominated when Harry Kewell nodded home from close range to end his long goal scoring drought.

Nolberto Solano stunned the visitors with a leveller a minute before half time from a controversial free kick awarded by Mark Halsey.

Rafa Benitez's side were left to rue that decision, and their inability to turn possession and chances into goals and it again looks like the Spanish boss is desperate to get to the January transfer window to strengthen his attacking options.

Neil Mellor started brightly, obviously buoyed after his glorious winner against Arsenal last Sunday, and he tested Thomas Sorensen with a good early shot.

The first half was all Liverpool and Antonion Nunez's cross found Steven Gerrard at the far post, but his knock down could not be converted by Mellor.

The Reds took the lead in the 16th minute when Harry Kewell grabbed his first goal for 34 games when he headed in Jamie Carragher's nod across goal - following Gerrard's free kick.

Mellor had his best chance just before the half hour, when his slightly scuffed effort from a right-wing cross headed for the far corner, only for Sorensen to fly across his goal and palm away at full stretch.

Gerrard then volleyed over the bar when he arrived at the far post from Xabi Alonso's cross, and David O'Leary's were struggling to mount a meaningful attack.

Sorensen had to be on the ball again to repel another Gerrard shot as Liverpool could, and should have had more to shot for their dominance.

However, they were stung just a minute before half time when Solano fired in a free kick that Chris Kirkland should have done better with.

Carragher was fuming with referee Mark Halsey after Gavin McCann went looking for a free kick, and looked to have hung his leg out to get the contact with the Liverpool stopper.

Solano's set piece was well hit but it went in right above Kirkland's head and the England hopeful will feel he should have done better.

Liverpool started the second half as they had done the first, and Gerrard tried his luck from a free kick but Sorensen was there again to save his effort, and the rebound from Steve Finnan.

Gerrard was shooting from all angles but could not find a finish as Benitez's side had most of the ball again, but the lack of firepower available again threatened to scupper their chances of three points.

Solano went close again with another free kick, but Villa forays forward were few and far between as Liverpool searched for a second goal.

Kewell was moved up front when Mellor was replaced by Djimi Traore, and the Australian had a good opportunity when Gerrard's header put him in, but he took too long to line up his right footed effort allowing Mark Delaney to get in a last-ditch block.

Solano had a late chance but blazed wide left footed, but it is Liverpool who will feel the hardest done to after being forced to settle for a point.

The visitors had the better of the chances and the possession but with a lack of cutting edge again proving their downfall.

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Thor Zakariassen