In pictures: Liverpool v Aston Villa
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Steven Gerrard slammed the ‘soft’ decision to award former club Liverpool a penalty against Aston Villa. The Reds legend suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat on his return to Anfield.
Mohamed Salah scored the winning goal from the penalty spot after being fouled by Tyrone Mings. The Egyptian appeared to go down slightly easily after dribbling into the box and then getting ahead of the England defender.
Mings was furious with the decision but Salah thumped home the only goal of the game from the resultant spot-kick.
Villa were also aggrieved that they were not awarded a penalty of their own in added-time. Danny Ings was seemingly felled by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson but their appeals were waved away.
Gerrard, who played a staggering 710 times for Liverpool, conceded that the hosts were the better side but bemoaned both penalty decisions.
The 41-year-old said: “I thought Liverpool were better in terms of general play. Their style was better than ours, but we’ve done so well to contain them for large periods.
“Ultimately the game has been decided by a penalty. There were two penalty incidents in the game, Liverpool got theirs – if you look at that one, Salah fouls Mings first.
“It’s always hard to take when you lose football matches. We knew it was going to be a containing job. You have to ride the first 20-25 minutes against sides like this. We finished the game stronger, with more belief and some good opportunities.
“If an arm goes anywhere near Alisson, it’s a foul. So why isn’t a foul given for Danny Ings? They are the questions I’d like answering, but I can’t answer them right now.
“In hindsight I should have thrown a bit more at it a bit earlier, but you have to be careful Liverpool don’t hit you for two, three or four. We’ve lost to a soft penalty because if you watch it properly, Tyrone’s been fouled first. The disappointing thing is that the referee hasn’t gone to look at it.
“In terms of commitment and application, I couldn’t be more pleased and proud. We have a tough game at Norwich in midweek. It’s an opportunity for us to go there, bounce back and get a positive result.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp praised Salah for the skill he showed to win his side the game.
“Absolutely insane. We all think penalty,” the German said.
“Everybody wishes in the moment to take the penalty but he finishes it off. The whole game was not the easiest but the triangles we had on the right and left wing was really outstanding. In the end we did not have enough bodies in the box in the first half.”
The 54-year-old added: “The first 75 minutes was incredible football. It’s difficult. The opponent defended compact. It looked really good, we played in the spaces we wanted to play but we did not finish the situations which is tricky.
“We came out in the second half and knew we had to keep going – and improve in moments. We were not calm enough in the last pass. We kept going.
“We scored with the penalty then the relief was obviously too big and it was an unnecessary open game. There are areas to improve even when we win football games, which is good.
“I really thought before the game, with Alisson in his shorts and top, that is not a lot for this game today.
“Yes, those moments were there, I don’t want Alisson to be busy in a game to be honest. It is something we will talk about and hopefully it does not become a pattern, or whatever.”
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