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Premier League: Liverpool hand Gerrard defeat on Anfield return

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Liverpool, Dec 11 (IANS) Steven Gerrard’s first visit to Anfield as rival team manager ended in disappointment as Liverpool rode on a penalty won and converted by forward Mohamed Salah to hand Aston Villa a 1-0 defeat in a Premier league match on Saturday.

Gerrard’s Aston Villa side was always going to make things difficult for Liverpool on the former captain’s return but in the end the indomitable Mohamed Salah came up trumps once again for Liverpool.

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Despite the affection between the club and the former legend, Gerrard showed no sympathy for Liverpool setting up his side with meticulous rigidity to frustrate Jurrgen Klopp’s attackers. Well versed in stalling tactics, Villa did well to waste time and delay Liverpool’s flow and rhythm in the game.

Aston Villa battled hard before eventually losing out to Liverpool.

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Blocks, last-ditch tackles and reflex saves were a common theme before the Reds finally found a way through after 67 minutes.

It did not always look like Liverpool were going to score, but in the end, Salah’s nifty work to force a clumsy challenge from Tyrone Mings inside the box was enough to secure a penalty and ensure Salah has contributed to a goal in every single one of his Premier League matches for Liverpool since August.

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The opening Liverpool goal also ensured Liverpool have matched a club record total of scoring in 31 consecutive matches in all competitions.

Villa struggled to find their feet in attack and were unable to unpick a stout Liverpool as Gerrard lost an away game for the first time as Villa head coach.

Liverpool remained at second spot in the table behind defending champions Manchester City, who defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 in an early match. City are on 38 points with Liverpool second with 37.

Chelsea, who prevailed over Leeds United 3-2, are placed third with 36 points from 16 matches.

In another match on Saturday, Arsenal defeated Southampton 3-0 despite playing winout their skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was dropped for the match because of ‘a disciplinary breach’.

–IANS

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