African star Sadio Mane kept Liverpool's Premier League title hopes alive after netting the winner against Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa on Tuesday night.
Result: Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool
Date: 10 May 2022
Venue: Villa Park
The Reds shuffled the side that were held by Tottenham Hotspur the last time out, as Diogo Jota took the place of Mohamed Salah, who dropped to the bench while Villa recalled Philippe Coutinho against his former side.
Steven Gerrard's charges got off to a quick start as Douglas Luiz gave them the lead in the third minute with a thumping strike in the box after goalkeeper Alisson blocked his initial header from Lucas Digne's cross.
Liverpool responded almost immediately after that as Joel Matip bundled home a shot from close range after a scramble in the box that ensued from Villa's inability to clear a free-kick.
Jurgen Klopp's men nearly went ahead in the 19th minute, as both sides continued to create chances, after Mane's header from a cross by Kostas Tsimikas missed the far post by a whisker.
Liverpool were the more dominant side in the latter phase of the first stanza but were not clinical in front of goal as the sides went into the halftime break level pegging.
The sides did not have the same vigour they started the game with in the early stages of the second and it took changes around the hour-mark for the game to come to life again.
In that moment, Thiago came on for Curtis Jones for the Reds and that switch gave Liverpool the fluidity they needed, as Mane put his side ahead three minutes later with a glancing header in the box after a cross by Luis Diaz on the byline.
The Reds wanted to remain in the ascendancy 18 minutes before time, as they finally brought on Salah in place of Diaz for fresh legs upfront.
The game was on the edge in the dying minutes, as Danny Ings came close to finding the equaliser for Villa with a strike at the near post from a solo-run that forced Alisson into a sharp save.
Gerrard's men remained a threat but Liverpool held on in the end and moved equal on points with leaders Manchester City, who face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday.
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