Football Features

Jhon Duran rescues point for Aston Villa after early Emiliano Martinez howler against Liverpool

By Harry Edwards

Published: 22:17, 13 May 2024

Liverpool beat Aston Villa 3-1 to keep the Villans’ Champions League qualification in the balance, opening the door slightly for Tottenham Hotspur.

Liverpool took the lead inside 61 seconds thanks to an own goal from Emiliano Martinez, the sixth own goal the Reds have benefited from in the Premier League this season. Liverpool’s lead lasted just 10 minutes before Youri Tielemans equalised, but Cody Gakpo later restored their advantage.

Jarell Quansah made it 3-1 just a few minutes into the second half and Liverpool looked set to hold on for all three points. But Jhon Duran came off the bench to score twice in the final 10 minutes, leaving Villa five points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

Here’s how the players rated at Villa Park:

Aston Villa

Emiliano Martinez – 4 – A man Aston Villa fans know they can usually rely on between the sticks, Martinez produced a howler just 61 seconds into the game. A cross into the box took the slightest of nicks which messed him up, fumbling his low catch before pushing the ball over the line. He also didn’t get a big enough hand on Gomez’s cross for Liverpool’s second. But Martinez did still make five saves including one on Nunez late on.

Ezri Konsa – 7 – Looked solid on the right which, let’s not forget, is not his natural position. Very comfortable pushing forward as well as trying to deal with Gomez and Diaz. He’s given Gareth Southgate something to think about.

Diego Carlos – 6 – Produced what might just be the worst miss of the Premier League season, stabbing an effort wide practically on the goalline, which also took the ball away from Watkins who was ready to tap in. His shot had an xG of 0.99, which should tell you all you need to know, even as a centre-back.

Pau Torres – 6 – Got the slight deflection on the cross that caught Martinez out, though it was nowhere near enough to affect the goalkeeper as it did. Produced some nice passes from the back, but there’s just something missing from his partnership with Carlos.

Lucas Digne – 3 – Really struggled up against Salah, and was often too narrow, allowing the Egyptian to overlap. He was also the man caught unawares by Quansah’s run at the far post to make it 3-1.

Youri Tielemans – 7 – Back in the starting XI, Tielemans showed Unai Emery what he has been missing, looking extremely comfortable in midfield despite an injury layoff. And, of course, he drilled home to equalise. Taken off midway through the second half as Villa manage his return, but it was a fine showing.

Douglas Luiz – 7 – Helped Aston Villa control the midfield battle and keep on top of things, even when trailing. But it’s worth noting that his departure did see Villa take things up a level to eventually get a draw.

Leon Bailey – 7 – There were a few moments when Bailey’s kicking let him down, not being able to get his feet sorted including on to send an opportunity wide after good play from Diaby. He should have had an assist after a good run to the byline, only for Carlos to miss. And he had another one ruled out, just mistiming his run. But overall it was a good performance. He could be world-class if he works out his feet.

Moussa Diaby – 7 – Started more central in the opening stages but was happy to push over to the left to run at Gomez. Had a chance to equalise just before half time but he sent the ball high into the stands. There was a similar chance in the second half to win it, but this time his effort was saved. Did get an assist for the equaliser, though, one of five chances he created.

John McGinn – 7 – Full of running on the left, he was obviously placed out wide to help stop Salah. But he was also a danger in attack and a target for Liverpool’s tougher tackles.

Ollie Watkins – 6 – In his first real involvement in the game, Watkins ran at Quansah, beating the young defender before cutting the ball back to Tielemans for the equaliser. He then saw a tap in taken away from him by Carlos, a goal ruled out for offside and then took an opportunity away from Luiz, trying a flick with his back towards goal, when his teammate was in a shooting position.

Substitutes:

Nicolo Zaniolo (for Tielemans 65) – 5 – Had a good opportunity to pull a goal back for Villa but his side-footed effort was too central to beat Alisson. Lasted just 14 minutes before having to come off injured.

Jhon Duran (for Zaniolo 79) – 8 – Turned the game on its head in his short time on the pitch. Brought Villa back into it with a great strike from outside the area, before a bit of good fortune to grab his second to make it 3-3.

Calum Chambers (for Luiz 80) – 6 – A like-for-like swap in midfield, Chambers did add a new dimension.


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Liverpool

Allison – 6 – Couldn’t do anything about Villa’s goal but was fortunate not to be punished for a poor pass in the second half, perhaps a bit too casual. Couldn’t do anything about Duran’s two goals but he produced a great save to deny Diaby in second-half injury time.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7 – Looked pretty comfortable defensively though wasn’t as involved in the attack as Liverpool will have liked him to be. But that’s not a bad thing, as he showed his defensive improvements.

Jarell Quansah – 8 – Was weak in the battle against Watkins for Villa’s equaliser, but he more than made up for it. Firstly he put in a good block on Watkins’ shot when the Englishman was played through and then he scored Liverpool’s third with a fine header at the far post.

Virgil van Dijk – 7 – The Dutchman was his usual self at the back, assured, confident and strong.

Joe Gomez – 7 – Did get caught out quite a bit when he was pushing forward, allowing Villa to have some luck down his flank. But going forward he put the cross in for Gakpo’s goal, just about timing his run to stay onside. And he was less exposed in the second half, getting used to his positioning.

Harvey Elliott – 8 – It was his deflected cross that brought Martinez’s own goal, but he didn’t get too many opportunities to truly get at the Villa defence. However, he instead influenced the game with his passing and, in the second half, it was his good delivery from a free-kick that set up Quansah’s header.

Wataru Endo – 5 – Liverpool needed someone strong in midfield against Villa’s tough trio but Endo was not that man. Although his passing was good, he didn’t offer the Liverpool defence the protection they needed.

Alexis Mac Allister – 4 – Was involved a lot in the opening stages but then drifted away, a long season perhaps taking its toll. It was his intercepted pass that turned over the ball in the middle of the pitch to start the move for Villa’s equaliser. He also gave the ball away on the edge of his area for Duran’s goal.

Mohamed Salah – 5 – He gave Digne a busy night but it feels as though he didn’t make enough of the left-back’s weaknesses. This should have been a game for Salah to dominate and cause real problems.

Cody Gakpo – 6 – Held his run to stay onside and put Liverpool ahead in the first half, but it still feels like he’s just missing that something to be a big part of this game.

Luis Diaz – 5 – Good hold up and pass to Gomez in the move for Liverpool’s second, but he was erratic at times and perhaps lucky not to have been at least booked for his four fouls.

Substitutes:

Ryan Gravenberch (for Elliott 75) – 5 – Didn’t really make an impact with just nine touches.

Darwin Nunez (for Gakpo 75) – 5 – Had time for a shot on target, but it was saved by Martinez.

Curtis Jones (for Diaz 76) – 5 – Barely involved after coming on.

Dominic Szoboszlai (for Endo 76) – 6 – Was the most-involved of the subs, having 27 touches in his time on the pitch.

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