pleased with Villa draw
By Gary Purvis - LFC Online
Gerard Houllier was happy with Liverpool's
performance at Villa Park, and believed the result was a
"We knew it was going to be a difficult game," he said
after the game. "We knew they'd be full of energy and
they were up for it.
"It was a very entertaining game and there were chances
at either end. We had ours, they had theirs and the
goalkeepers made good saves.
"Hopefully the season starts now. The players showed a
lot of character. We had chances and the effort was
"We thought we needed to strengthen the defence and
against Chelsea we didn't get the result we deserved
because of that.
"We played with four up front - Harry, Diouf and two
strikers - and I think we had a very offensive set up
and we'll work at it.
"I'm pleased that today we showed temperament and
character and when we had to defend the whole team
"We could have won but on the back of a defeat against
Chelsea we consider that a good result."
O'Leary: We deserved victory
Villa boss David O'Leary was pleased with his side's
display in the goalless draw at home to Liverpool - and
believed they should have emerged victorious from the
He said: "I'm delighted with the players' attitude and
the way they worked for each other.
"I thought we deserved to win, although our goalkeeper
[Thomas Sorensen] has pulled off a fantastic save at the
He added: "We should have taken some of the chances -
and I'm disappointed we haven't come away with three
points - but the main thing is we're creating chances.
"Missing chances was a problem. We were missing them all
last season but the footie we're playing is excellent."
O'Leary was pleased with the performance of Swedish
defender Olof Mellberg, recalled to the line-up at the
expense of Alpay. The Irishman continued: "He played
fantastic last season and he was disappointed to miss
out against Portsmouth.
"But he's responded well on the pitch - and not in the
newspapers. I wanted him to shut me up so I can look him
in the eye and say 'you've played well'."
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier did not believe his team
deserved to win the match, and said: "We knew it was
going to be a difficult game - we knew Aston Villa would
be full of energy and they were up for it.
"But it was a very entertaining game despite the score.
There were chances at either end and the goalkeepers
made some saves.
"It was an exciting game we could have won - but we
could also have lost."
with Villa draw
Steven Gerrard reflected on Liverpool's first point
of the season and admitted: "It's nice to get off the
Liverpool battled to a goalless draw at Villa Park to
end their run of three successive league defeats and
Gerrard says the clean sheet in particular will send the
Reds into Wednesday's clash with Tottenham in high
He said: "It's nice to get off the mark. We would have
obviously preferred the three points but they played
well and a draw was definitely a fair result.
"It was their first game at home with their new manager
and they were up for it. They closed us down well and
worked very hard.
"We had chances in the game, especially in the first
half, and I'm sure when the lads sharpen up a bit the
goals will come.
"The manager told us before the game that the most
important thing was keeping a clean sheet and getting
our defensive play back to normal. We know the goals
will come, hopefully starting against Spurs on
"We're looking now to get a win on Wednesday to set us
up nicely for the derby next weekend."
Villa in Liverpool deadlock
BBC Sport Online
Aston Villa and Liverpool are both still waiting for
their first win of the season after battling out an
entertaining stalemate at Villa Park.
Villa boss David O'Leary will be the happier of the two
managers after his side dominated for long periods - but
Liverpool also forced several outstanding saves from new
goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.
Sorensen denied Liverpool victory with a brilliant late
save from John Arne Riise - while Villa also had
opportunities to take all three points as they gave a
But the two sides had to be content with picking up
their first point having each lost on the opening day.
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier restored El-Hadji Diouf
to the starting line-up - and he almost helped create an
opener for Harry Kewell after nine minutes.
The Senegal striker forced Sorensen into a fine block,
and just as Kewell seemed certain to score from the
rebound, the Australian fired hopelessly wide of an open
Sorensen was in action again seven minutes later, diving
acrobatically to turn away a 20-yard drive from Danny
Villa had also looked dangerous and squandered a great
chance to take the lead after 20 minutes.
Juan Pablo Angel was clean through on goal, but took an
age and eventually set up Peter Whittingham, whose shot
was scrambled off the line by Diouf.
Liverpool's other main threat in he first half came from
communication breakdowns between new goalkeeper Sorensen
and defender Olof Mellberg.
The Sweden defender twice failed to hear shouts from his
keeper, first heading inches wide and then causing mass
panic in the Villa penalty area.
Liverpool had a narrow escape after 54 minutes when
Diouf lost possession in the danger zone, forcing Jerzy
Dudek to race out and clear from Mark Delaney.
And Dudek was the hero two minutes later, diving at the
feet of Darius Vassell to rescue Liverpool.
Liverpool were suddenly under the cosh and were
fortunate to escape on the hour when Angel's free-kick
from 25 yards bounced to safety off an upright.
Houllier sent on Milan Baros for the injured Emile
Heskey, and with time running out he tested Sorensen
with a right foot volley.
Sorensen had enjoyed an eventful afternoon, and he
produced a miraculous save from Riise as he powered a
header goalwards from Steven Gerrard's corner.