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Liverpool held by Aston Villa in huge blow to Champions League dreams

Roberto Firmino's stoppage-time equalizer kept Liverpool's top-four hopes alive, albeit barely, and effectively scuppered Aston Villa's Europa League bid.

Liverpool drew 1-1 at home against Aston Villa as their hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League are hanging by a thread.

A defeat for Liverpool would have ended their Champions League hopes but Roberto Firmino (who else?) popped up with a late equalizer to keep the Reds’ top four hopes alive. For now.


After Ollie Watkins missed a penalty kick to put Aston Villa ahead, Jacob Ramsey did make it 1-0 and stunned Anfield in the first half. Before half time Tyrone Mings caught Cody Gakpo with a very high tackle but despite VAR having a look, no red card was dished out.

However, Liverpool pushed hard for an equalizer in the second half as Gakpo was denied a goal by VAR due to off an offside.

Enter: Roberto Firmino.

In his final home game as a Liverpool player Firmino jumped off the bench and in the 90th minute finished a great cross from Mohamed Salah to give Liverpool hope of winning it late on. They didn’t find a winner and are up against it as they try and qualify for the Champions League.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Liverpool are 10 games unbeaten going into their final game of the season at Southampton. They remain in fifth place and have 66 points, three points behind both Manchester United and Newcastle, who both have a game in-hand and need just a point in midweek to secure their spot in the top four and qualify for the Champions League. If that happens, Liverpool will be not be able to qualify for the Champions League.

Villa have 58 points and sit in seventh as they push for European qualification and they face sixth-placed Brighton at home on the final day of the season.

Positive vibes despite Liverpool’s Champions League charge taking a hit

Liverpool are now 10 games unbeaten and although they will be very disappointed to lose ground in the top four race they cannot complain with the way they’ve turned things around this season. Jurgen Klopp’s side were caught out by a very good Villa side in the first half but they battered them in the second half and could have easily won this. Despite the changes which are coming up to their team this summer, this feels like a Jurgen Klopp Liverpool side once again. Luis Diaz, Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota are clicking through the gears and the quartet of Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah have all stood tall. Central midfield remains the key area for Klopp to add a new star this summer and he already knew that. However, this run at the end of the season has also told Klopp something he didn’t know: there’s no need to totally revamp this Liverpool squad and given a few key additions they will be ready to challenge for major trophies again next season. Even if they don’t finish in the top four as they hope for Newcastle and Manchester United to slip up, Liverpool’s finish to this season proves they aren’t as far from the glory days of the last few seasons as everyone, including themselves, thought they were.

Jurgen Klopp doesn’t agree with disallowed goal, Aston Villa time-wasting

Speaking to our partners in the UK at Sky Sports, Jurgen Klopp was asked about Gakpo’s disallowed goal: “I asked the referee, it’s a subjective decision. He thought the ball was not deliberately played. I have a different view.”

Then asked about Aston Villa’s time wasting and the amount of added time, here was Klopp’s response: “I think 15 minutes would have been all right. We have to talk about that. When Sevilla was 2-1 up against Juventus [in the Europa League on Thursday] the ball boys left the country, Leverkusen against Roma [too] it was unbelievable. We have to try to find a solution. This was on the edge I would say today. We all see the same and we have to at least talk about it in the right way. We need to work on a solution because it is not great for football. We cannot say this is OK. “

Emotional farewell to Liverpool hero Roberto Firmino

Stars of the show; Liverpool vs Aston Villa player ratings

Cody Gakpo: Was everywhere the entire game. His movement caused problems and he was so brave on the ball.

Mohamed Salah: Brilliant assist for the goal and tried his best time and time again to unlock the Villa defense.

Douglas Luiz: Quality cross for Villa’s goal and worked so hard in midfield to deny Liverpool space.

Liverpool vs Aston Villa

Graphic via

What’s next?

Liverpool head to Southampton on Sunday, May 28 in their season finale. Aston Villa host Brighton on the same day.

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

Kick off: 10am ET, SaturdayTV Channel: PeacockOnline: Stream via Peacock Premium

Liverpool vs Aston Villa live analysis! - By Joe Prince-Wright

FULL TIME: Liverpool 1-1 Aston Villa - A huge blow for Liverpool in their quest to finish in the top four but they gave it everything at home. They still have a chance of the Champions League but it looks like being a Europa League spot for Liverpool. What a valiant effort from Villa as they remain in the hunt for Europe too.

Villa are holding on! Somehow.

Cody Gakpo smashes towards goal but Martinez saves. Liverpool flying now.

10 minutes of stoppage time!

GOALLLL! Liverpool 1-1 Aston Villa - In his final game at Anfield as a Liverpool player, Roberto Firmino slots home after a fabulous cross with the outside of his foot from Mohamed Salah. What a moment.

Jurgen Klopp has been shown in the stands for the 765th time during this game and he looks very tense. Villa are looking solid and Liverpool are running out of ideas. 10 minutes to go for Liverpool...

CHANCE! A great attack from Liverpool sees Gakpo set up Alexander-Arnold but his shot from the edge of the box is straight at the very grateful Emiliano Martinez.

Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Kostas Tsimikas are all coming on for Liverpool. Firmino and Milner getting a huge ovation from Anfield as they play at home for the final time.

Brilliant defending from Alex Moreno to deny Van Dijk a finish at the back post. Villa are digging deep. Moreno injured himself in that action and the substitute has had to be subbed.

At the other end Villa almost go 2-0 up! Fabinho clears after substitute Ashley Young whips in a dangerous cross.

DRAMA AT ANFIELD! Gakpo has the ball in the net after an almighty scramble but VAR asks John Brooks to check the monitor and it is ruled out for offside.

We are back underway and Liverpool are doing all the pressing. Klopp is looking pretty nervous from his seat up in the stand as he serves his ban.

HALF TIME: Liverpool 0-1 Aston Villa - A very controlled first half from Villa as they’ve frustrated Liverpool. The Reds need a big second half and launch a comeback win if they want to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

Tyrone Mings clatters Cody Gakpo with a very high foot and a yellow card is given, while VAR checks for a potential red card. No red is given and Mings is pretty lucky there.

CLOSE! At the other end Luis Diaz heads wide as Liverpool are pushing to get level before the break.

Oh, almost a second for Villa! Brilliantly worked set piece as Ramsey is played in but Alisson did really well to race off his line, close the angle and block the shot.

As it stands - with Aston Villa winning at Liverpool and Manchester United winning at Bournemouth, Liverpool won’t be able to finish in the top four and Newcastle and Manchester United will be sure of Champions League qualification. Still 60 minutes or so to go...

GOALLLL! Liverpool 0-1 Aston Villa - Jacob Ramsey with a fine finish at the back post to stun Anfield. Brilliant cross from Douglas Luiz as Liverpool couldn’t clear and Ramsey finishes. Wow.

PENALTY MISSED! Ollie Watkins puts his penalty kick wide of the post. Huge let off for Liverpool.

PENALTY TO ASTON VILLA! Ibrahima Konate takes down Ollie Watkins in the box and that is a clear pen. Konate was stretching and didn’t get the ball.

Ollie Watkins and Virgil van Dijk are both down after they collided in the box. They look okay.

KICK OFF! We are underway at a sun-drenched Anfield and Liverpool are wearing their new home kits for the 2023-24 season. They look sharp in those threads and in this game. Villa are struggling to get out of their own half.

Key storylines & in-form players to watch

Liverpool have found a winning formula and look so much better defensively as their last three wins have all included a shutout. Curtis Jones scored twice against Leicester and has brought something different to their midfield, while Trent Alexander-Arnold curled home a beauty of a free kick and continues to excel in his hybrid right back/central midfield role. Mohamed Salah had a hat trick of assists against Leicester, while Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz are both in great form too. This game also marks the final home game for Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner as all four are out of contract this summer and will be leaving Liverpool. The club have announced ‘special tributes’ will be paid to the quartet with more to follow at the end of the season.

Aston Villa are such a tough team to play against and their big home win against Tottenham last time out proved they are ready to battle for a top six finish, at least, next season. Emery has set them up to be solid and when they get the ball wide there are so many players arriving into the box to finish and it causes chaos. Ollie Watkins and Jacob Ramsey are their main threats in attack, while Emiliano Martinez continues to have a fine season in goal.

Klopp handed ban

Jurgen Klopp will not be on the sidelines for this game against Aston Villa as he received a two-match touchline ban from the English FA (the second match of his ban is suspended) following comments he made about the officials following Liverpool’s recent 4-3 win against Tottenham.

Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Stefan Bajcetic (groin), Calvin Ramsay (knee), Thiago Alcantara (groin), Darwin Nunez (foot) | DOUBT: Naby Keita (undisclosed)

Aston Villa team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Jed Steer (calf), Philippe Coutinho (muscle), Calum Chambers (illness)

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