Football Features

“He’s a machine” – Player ratings as Mané drags Liverpool to huge win over Aston Villa

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:38, 10 May 2022

Sadio Mané scored a later winner as Liverpool came from behind to beat Aston Villa and stay alive in the title race.

The win takes the Reds level with Manchester City atop the Premier League table on points.

Here’s how the players rated at Villa Park:


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Aston Villa

Emi Martinez – 7 – A powerful presence. Unlucky on the Liverpool equaliser and helpless on their gamewinner.

Matty Cash – 5 – Both goals, while not direct errors, came from Cash failing to protect his flank.

Ezri Konsa – 6 – Reasonably solid at the heart of the Villa defence but lost Mané for the game-winner.

Tyrone Mings – 5 – Held Liverpool at arm’s length but had real trouble picking up Mané in the air, leading to two great chances for Liverpool (one that ended up being the game-winner.

Lucas Digne – 7 – A fantastic showing from the Everton oldboy as he tore up and down the left for Everton. Whipped a delicious cross back into the box leading to Villa’s storming opener.

Douglas Luiz – 7 – A very impressive display at the heart of midfield. Dominated that area until Liverpool brought Thiago on. Scored the opening goal of the game with a towering header, and then a determined follow-up.

Marvelous Nakamba – 7 – Worked his heart out in both attack and defence to keep the tempo high. “I thought we lost our way once he went off,” said his manager Steven Gerrard, which is about as good as you can get in terms of managerial praise.

John McGinn – 4 – Nowhere near as present as one would expect from McGinn in a game of this magnitude. Didn’t attempt a single tackle nor take a single shot. Anonymous when Villa needed him to be omnipresent.

Phillipe Coutinho – 6 – Nutmegged Virgil van Dijk. Didn’t really do too much else, but still, he nutmegged Virgil van Dijk and put the great Dutchman on the deck. He can always say that.

Olly Watkins – 6 – Ran into space well, keeping Liverpool on the back foot, but didn’t have the quality to really hurt the Reds even as he caused them no end of problems.

Danny Ings – 4 – Bottled an amazing 1-v-1 with Alisson where he should have made it 2-2. Later thundered in a gorgeous equaliser that was (correctly) ruled out for offside. Simply not his night against his old team.


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Aston Villa Substitutes:

Carey Chukwuemeka (for Nakamba 62′) – 6 – Added energy and drive.

Emi Buendia (for Coutinho 70′) – 5 – Didn’t make much of an impact on the game.

Bertrand Traoré (for Watkins 81′) – 5 – Had one decent run.


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Liverpool

Alisson – 4 – Inexplicably bad for much of the game. Erratic and short on confidence. Weak on the Villa goal, almost gave it away later with a stupid pass out. Just a bizarre performance. Still managed to produce one massive save from Danny Ings to preserve Liverpool’s lead.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6 – Sent in a number of preposterously good crosses and some dangerous free-kicks, but not quite as polished as he usually is.

Joel Matip – 8 – Another solid display from a man who can legitimately claim to be Liverpool’s best defender this season. 5 clearances, 2 interceptions and the crucial equaliser

Virgil van Dijk – 5 – So apparently the way to make Virgil van Dijk play poorly is to have him play at Villa Park. The Liverpool colossus was all over the place yet again in the midlands and never looked sure of himself.

Kostas Tsimikas – 6 – Completely monstered for the Villa goal but made up for it with a crucial block on Ings to stop him having a free shot at goal from five yards out and was a key creator for the Reds in attack.

Fabinho – 4 – Really poor even before he picked up an injury, but Liverpool will be hoping he’s not seriously hurt.

Curtis Jones – 6 – Ran hard.

Naby Keita – 5 – Played well in general but was very lucky to avoid getting sent off early in the game, so his rating evens out to a 5.

Luis Diaz – 7 – Struggled to impact the game from the right but really turned it on when he moved to the left, including providing the game-winning cross with a delicious bit of play.

Diogo Jota – 6 – Another quiet display from Liverpool’s Portuguese forward however his jabbed touch tackle to retain possession for the Reds was crucial to Matip’s equaliser.

Sadio Mané – 8 – Magnificent from Mané, even before he scored a scorching game-winner he was the best Liverpool player on the pitch. Has scored 12 goals since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, more than any other Liverpool player in that time. Mané has seen his form transformed by moving to play centre-forward, mastering the role as he did the right and left wings. His captain Jordan Henderson was effusive in his praise of the Senegalese striker.

“His performances are always incredible, y’know, the amount of work he does for the team, off the ball as well. Defending there at the end, winning the ball back high up. But it was quality in and around the box, you see with his finish, it’s all that gym you do, y’know, your neck muscles to generate the power for the header; incredible finish.”

Jurgen Klopp was similarly blown away, adding: “he’s a machine and I told him after the game.”

“Massive player, massive player. His physicality is brutal, in fact his mix of technique, desire and physicality.”

“Top goal. Yeah, just fantastic, world-class player.”

Substitutes:

Jordan Henderson (for Fabinho 30′) – 7 – Helped steel up the Liverpool midfield when he came on. Brought a sense of serene leadership.

Thiago (for Jones 62′) – 7 – Came on and added immense levels of calm and control.

Mohamed Salah (for Diaz 72′) – 6 – Came on and looked bright.