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Liverpool roll over Aston Villa at Anfield

The Reds beat Aston Villa with ease; Dominik Szoboszlai and Mohamed Salah amongst the goals

Extended Highlights: Liverpool 3, Aston Villa 0
Goals from Dominik Szoboszlai and Mohamed Salah helped guide Liverpool to a comfortable three-goal victory over Aston Villa at Anfield.

Liverpool didn’t need any late heroics against Aston Villa at Anfield on Sunday, beating up the Villans by a 3-0 score.

The Reds were coming off a 10-man comeback win over Newcastle but had this one 2-0 by halftime. Dominik Szoboszlai scored and Darwin Nunez prodded a Matty Cash own goal before Mohamed Salah salted away the win.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

But Trent Alexander-Arnold limped off early and Reds fans will hope the international break is all he needs to return following a very good performance.

Villa had been flying since a season-opening blowout loss to Newcastle, blasting Everton, Hibernian (x2), and Burnley, but found big problems with another dangerous attack.

Liverpool becomes the third team on 10 points, two back of perfect leaders Man City, while Villa’s record falls to 2-2 and 11th-place footing.

Who cares who’s at the back (for Liverpool, not Villa)?

Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate will have all the high-fives for Joel Matip and Joe Gomez after the deputizing center backs helped Alisson keep a clean sheet.

Alisson is the key piece there — he had a few nice saves, as standard — but Villa’s 0.49 expected goals shows that danger was hard to find for a club that had cruised in all matches since the blowout at Newcastle.

Liverpool fired forward in the first half and could’ve led by four or even five at the break. The Reds only found one more goal from Mohamed Salah — still in red, by the way — even as the second half opened up, but Jurgen Klopp will appreciate the comfort at least relative to the Herculean effort at Newcastle.

For Villa, Unai Emery rolled out a back three but it’s going to be a while before we discover if that idea looks as good as it sounds, because Diego Carlos was injured and joins Tyrone Mings on the shelf.

The Villans have a lot of games coming up and a Carlos absence could really tax Pau Torres and Ezri Konsa.

What’s next?

The Reds return from the international break on Saturday, Sept 16 for a 7:30am ET match with Wolves at the Molineux before staying on the road with a 12:45pm ET Sept. 21 Europa League group stage start at LASK Linz.

Villa returns on the 16th or a 10am ET kick versus Crystal Palace before hitting the road for a 1:45pm ET Sept. 21 Conference League scrap at Legia Warsaw.

How to watch Liverpool vs Aston Villa live, stream link, time

Kickoff: 9 am ET, Sunday (Sept. 3)
TV channel: USA Network
Online: Watch online via NBCSports.com

Updates
Jurgen Klopp, Dominik Szoboszlai — Salah wants to stay with Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp is laughing off a question about Mohamed Salah’s future, as the goal scorer has been linked with a $210 million exit to the Saudi league.

“He played a top game,” Klopp said, via the BBC. “Mo had to work super hard and he did. I never had any doubt about his commitment to this club. You can’t imagine how much fuss the world has made but how calm we are with it. He is our player and wants to play here.”

Fellow goal scorer Dominik Szoboszlai had this to say about the Salah rumors.

“You know it is football everyone is talking. We are really happy that he has stayed. We are of course speaking between each other but he wants to stay, he wants to be here and be with us. We are really happy - we need people in the team like him.”

Unai Emery reaction — Loss verdict, Diego Carlos update

Unai Emery doesn’t know if Diego Carlos will be out a while, saying it’s “hopefully not a big injury.”

He does know the unplanned exit affected the game (via the BBC):

“The first half was key. They were clinical. Maybe we were a little weak in some action and that was key in the first half. At 2-0 it was difficult but we tried to react, we had two very good chances at the beginning of the second half but after the third goal it was very difficult to come back.

“We played with some circumstances, like Diego Carlos being injured, and we played in some circumstances where we were not clinical. It was a tough match, they are a very good team and a candidate to be a top four. I was excited to test our performance but today we didn’t.”

Liverpool vs Aston Villa player ratings

Nine shot attempts between Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah and 15 recoveries between Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister.

Throw in Szoboszlai’s tremendous hit to open the scoring, and Jurgen Klopp will take those performances in front of his injury-hit back four.

It’s difficult to find much to love outside of Villa’s hard-edged midfield, and it doesn’t help that the best showing off the bench was from another midfielder in Nicolo Zaniolo.

An uncharacteristically quiet day for Ollie Watkins.

Liverpool-vs-Aston-Villa-player-ratings.png

Liverpool vs Aston Villa player ratings (fotmob.com)

Liverpool vs Aston Villa player ratings (fotmob.com)

FULL TIME — Liverpool 3-0 Aston Villa

A lot of comfort for the Reds today, who will go to the international break knowing that they return with Ryan Gravenberch available.

Jurgen Klopp will relish the chance to have Alexis Mac Allister more advanced, and he’ll also feel great knowing that Joe Gomez and Joel Matip delivered a clean sheet in the absence of Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate.

Again, it helps to have Alisson Becker.

But the Reds will also wait on the status of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was very good before limping off late (assist, five created chances, 94 touches).

71st minute — Injury substitution for Liverpool

Trent Alexander-Arnold is handing the captain’s arm band to Andy Robertson, and the influential fullback-midfielder hybrid is limping off the pitch after treatment from trainers.

Twenty-one year old Jarell Quansah takes TAA’s place, and all ears will be on Jurgen Klopp’s post-match presser. The international break bodes well for any absence, though England won’t love it.

55th minute GOAL — Mohamed Salah

The Egyptian King has headed home from close range off a corner kick.

Andy Robertson swings it in from the left, and Darwin Nunez heads it toward the back post.

Salah leaps to kick it under the bar and the lead is three.

Salah taps in Liverpool's third v. Aston Villa
Mohamed Salah gets on the receiving end of Darwin Nunez's header to give Liverpool a commanding 3-0 lead over Aston Villa at Anfield.

49th minute — Reds nearly put it away

Mohamed Salah is leading a wide-open rush toward goal and his hard cross-shot toward Darwin Nunez is...

... headed wide of the post.

Darwin Nunez has to be close to the league lead in “almosts” per 90!

Still 2-0 Liverpool

HALFTIME: Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa

Not much up for debate here.

The Reds will take what’s been given to them by Dominik Szoboszlai’s fizzed strike and John McGinn’s own goal, and they’ll also know they’ve had the ball (68%), the shots (7-3), and the danger (three big chances to one).

Considering that Liverpool’s missed all three of those chances, Emery can say that Villa’s fortunate to not be staring down something like the shellacking Ollie Watkins and the club put on the Reds back in 2020 at Villa Park.

41st minute — All Liverpool

McGinn’s miss is very much an outlier as Liverpool is in complete control at Anfield and should be ahead by more than two.

Szoboszlai’s goal and Cash’s o.g. show a Reds side that’s both seizing chances and getting breaks to boot.

Emery’s already had to introduce Leon Bailey in the 19th minute following an injury to Diego Carlos that triggered not just a sub but a system change.

He has a lot of options to change the game at the break, Nicolo Zaniolo, Jhon Duran, Leander Dendoncker, and Youri Tielemans among them.

33rd minute — Close shave for Liverpool

Oh, John McGinn and his newly-buzzed head given Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker a close shave!

Villa nearly cuts the Reds’ lead in half when Moussa Diaby’s strong dribble into the Liverpool end is laid off by the back post.

McGinn and his powerful boot are a bit too much so, however; He’s smashed over the frame.

Tough one and Villa’s first shot attempt of the game. Not what the visitors expected against Liverpool’s shorthanded back line.

Still 2-0 to the hosts.

22nd minute GOAL — Matty Cash own goal.

This looks like an own goal for Matty Cash, but this was fine stuff from Liverpool and was probably going to be put home even if it didn’t hit the Polish international.

Trent Alexander-Arnold sweeps a sweet diagonal ball to Mohamed Salah.

The Egyptian’s pass is then ripped off the right post by Darwin Nunez, but the rebound is off Cash and into the goal.

Liverpool, 2-0.

Nunez's effort turned in by Aston Villa's Cash
Darwin Nunez's shot hits off the post but ricochets off Matty Cash to give Liverpool an early 2-0 lead over Aston Villa at Anfield.

Landmark assist for Trent Alexander-Arnold

The corner kick that led to Szoboszlai’s goal was a slippery one, but Trent Alexander-Arnold will take the assist.

Still 24 for another month, Alexander-Arnold just moved past some Premier League royalty with the set piece service.

His 55th Premier League assist puts him tied for 31st all-time, as the marker moves him past Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Mesut Ozil, and old teammate Jordan Henderson.

Here’s the full list, as it stands now.

3rd minute GOAL — Dominik Szoboszlai

What a sweet strike!

Hungarian international Dominik Szoboszlai has already shown signs of superstar potential at Liverpool, but the Anfield set just got a first taste of his finishing acumen.

Szoboszlai ambles up to a corner kick that was absent receiver and slashes it off the ground and inside the far post. It’s a vicious hit and a splendid finish.

Liverpool, 1-0.

Szoboszlai's volley gives Liverpool lead v. Villa
Liverpool's newest midfield sensation Dominik Szoboszlai scores his first goal for his new club in style with a powerful volley to give his side a 1-0 lead over Aston Villa at Anfield.

Aston Villa lineup out!

Nicolo Zaniolo, Clement Lenglet, and Youri Tielemans are all on the bench for the Villans, as Unai Emery sticks with a working machine.

Liverpool lineup out!

Jurgen Klopp doesn’t have a lot of options at center back, with Ibrahima Konate ailing and Virgil van Dijk suspended for his red card. Joe Gomez and Joel Matip will be tasked with stopping Villa.

Aston Villa team news, lineup options

Unai Emery doesn’t know whether Emiliano Martinez or Alex Moreno will be ready to go on Sunday.

Tyrone Mings and Emiliano Buendia remain out long-term, while Jacob Ramsey, Leander Dendoncker, Philippe Coutinho, and Timothy Iroegbunam are also set to miss the trip to Anfield.

Ollie Watkins and Moussa Diaby remain electric in attack, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg as Villa goes for broke against Liverpool’s addled defense.

Liverpool team news, lineup options

Liverpool is definitely without Virgil van Dijk after his red card, but can it deal with both his absence and Ibrahima Konate? The latter has a chance to play but Jurgen Klopp has said it may take the international break to get him back on the pitch.

Thiago Alcantara and Curtis Jones are both being assessed ahead of returns to the pitch, and Liverpool is also in the market with a midfielder as Thursday reports say a deal has been agreed for Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch.

Mohamed Salah remains the key to the attack, but will he driving the attack with Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, and/or Cody Gakpo?

And, as we learned against Newcastle, having one of the best goalkeepers in the world is critical. Alisson was and is fantastic.