Liverpool-Villa Review and Title Chances

Tatum SalomonContributor IAugust 24, 2009

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24:  Liverpool Manager Rafael Benitez watches the action during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield on August 24, 2009 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Has the dream of a league title already began to fade? Just why is it that Liverpool are being written off so early in the season?

Liverpool set out on Monday night to try and build on the impressive 4-0 victory against the potters last weekend with a win at Anfield against Villa.

Having already seemingly come under severe media scrutiny and supposedly being under pressure because of their opening weekend loss, the match against Villa was being touted as a must win.

In some or other way, depending on how you look at things, just about every game Liverpool play is potentially a must win game.

Clubs like Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal have passionate fans, who stop at nothing short of expecting a win every game. Even at the expense of clubs who themselves have supporters who probably expect the same thing and are just as passionate about their respective clubs.

One might have thought that the task of defeating Villa at home wouldn’t be that difficult a task to achieve.

Liverpool started brightly and had a chance to take the lead in the opening minute when Yossi Benayoun got his head onto a flick from Torres—but ultimately flicked it just wide, having beat Friedel to the ball.

Liverpool had the upper hand for most of the first half but a resilient Villa absorbed the pressure from the home side, thwarting any chances Liverpool managed to create—and it is not as if Liverpool didn’t create chances.

Come half time, they were 2 goals down and everyone was saying deservedly so.

Quickly placing the blame on Lucas Leiva, surprise, surprise—because he is always to blame isn’t he? Again, I don’t believe Lucas had a bad game at all but my opinion was heavily at odds with the presenters in the studio back home in South Africa and I’m sure many critics around the globe.

The same presenters who week in and week out indirectly have a go at teams through tone and suggestion, who ‘park-the-bus’ and repeatedly mention the fact that it is a ploy—a ploy used by the weaker sides so to speak.

In all honesty, is that not what Villa did at Anfield? They sat back for the majority of the game and sought to score on the counter through the pace of Agbonlahor. Though Aston Villa were admittedly much better at ‘parking-the-bus’ than most sides who attempt it away from home, you cannot deny that park the bus they did.

Having conceded 2 goals from set pieces, the customary inclusion of a quick review of the zonal marking system found its place in the half time analysis yet again.

Perhaps of all the systems that need attention, the technological review system might be the one that seriously be considered especially if one considers the foul that preceded the corner that then resulted in Villa’s second goal via Curtis Davies.

I won’t fault Aston Villa for coming away from Anfield with 3 points—but hey all’s well that ends well. At the end of the day it is the result that counts and it was a good result for the Villans.

It also goes some way in shutting up all the “we drew to many games at home last season” fans, as loses surely say more about a team’s performance than draws do, right?—Wrong.

Sometimes a result really doesn’t reflect a team’s performance as anyone who actually watches football would know.

Liverpool did not play badly by any stretch of the imagination on Monday—overall they passed the ball well, had possession, created chances, hit the woodwork but were ultimately frustrated by a hard-wearing Villa outfit that were desperate for points having lost their opening fixture and a match against Rapid Wien on Thursday .

I just cannot see why some are already drawing conclusions as to Liverpool’s chances of actually securing that elusive 19th title. Surely it’s too soon to say as it always is. You’d swear the league ends in August the way many are carrying on about Liverpool’s chances.

Last season was last season and this season is a different kettle of fish altogether, with a weakened United, a rejuvenated Chelsea and a youthful yet determined Arsenal all at it once again gunning for their places on the log.

Liverpool haven’t got off to the best of starts but it would be ludicrous to write them off already. Having only played 3 league games, I don't think anyone is in a position to make the call. They are after-all infamous for there spectacular tendency to fight back in sometimes what would seem impossible situations.

Liverpool fans just need to keep believing and get behind the team and the manager, oh and Lucas.