Although Roberto Firmino may recall a welcome late contribution in his last appearance at Anfield, the big picture is that Liverpool will now almost certainly be without Champions League football for the first time in seven seasons.
Firmino’s equalizing goal in the 89th minute that produced great emotion for both the player and the fans delayed official confirmation, but for Jurgen Klopp’s side to finish in the top four now, they must beat Southampton next Sunday and expect Manchester United to lose both of them. remaining home games against Chelsea and Fulham. Liverpool could also qualify if they won their last game and Newcastle lost their last two on a run of seven goals.
It’s not going to happen and after a run of seven wins, there was a disappointment in Liverpool’s performance yesterday, with Jurgen Klopp unable to wake them from their technical area due to a touchline ban.
Aston Villa, who have climbed from 15th to 7th since Unai Emery was appointed in October, deserved the lead from Jacob Ramsey in the 27th minute and also missed a penalty from the unusually spendthrift Ollie Watkins.
The home crowd was frustrated by Villa’s time-wasting tactics and conspiracy theorists would have relished the fact that referee John Brooks was the fourth official Klopp yelled at at the end of last month’s win against Tottenham. .
Roberto Firmino scored a dramatic late goal to salvage a point for Liverpool against Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon.
The Brazilian walked away to celebrate after scoring in his last appearance at Anfield.
Jacob Ramsey had given the hosts the lead with a well-taken volley in the first half
The sense of injustice only increased when Cody Gakpo’s equalizer was overturned because Virgil van Dijk was ruled offside in the build-up, despite Ezri Konsa putting the finishing touches on the drive for the great Dutchman.
VAR ruled it was Konsa’s misdirection rather than deliberate touching and Mr Brooks agreed after checking his monitor.
Even so, there was a great finish with Firmino and his starting partner James Milner presenting with 17 minutes remaining with flying colors.
The Brazilian, one of the few to precede Klopp at Anfield having arrived in early 2015, was in the right place to convert Mo Salah’s cross for an equaliser.
He looked to the sky with gratitude, but even he couldn’t conjure up the winner in 10 minutes of injury time.
At the final whistle, he was moved to tears by the crowd’s response and received a bear hug from international teammate Allison.
For once, Klopp was not in the technical area to wake up his troops, instead sitting high in the stands due to a touchline ban for comments he made about referee Paul Tierney.
Villa took advantage as they continue to chase their own European side, which will now come if they beat Brighton in their last game.
Cody Gakpo’s second-half goal was ruled out for offside after Virgil van Dijk deflected past Luis Diaz in the build-up.
Ollie Watkins missed a crucial penalty moments before Villa ended up taking the lead
DATA AND CLASSIFICATIONS OF THE MATCH LIVERPOOL VS ASTON VILLA
Liverpool (4-3-3): Allison 7: Alexander-Arnold 5.5, Konate 5, van Dijk 6, Robertson 6.5 (Tsimikas 72); Jones 6 (Jack 63 6), Fabinho 6.5 (Elliott 81), Henderson 6 (Milner 72); Salah 7, Gakpo 5.5, Diaz 6 (Firmino 72)
Goal: Firmino 89
Unused substitutes: Kelleher (Gk), Gomez, Matip, Carvalho
Yellow card: Konate, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho
Manager: Jurgen Klopp 6
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Martínez 7: Cash 6, Konsa 7.5, Mings 7, Digne 6.5 (Moreno 53, Buendía 65 6); Kamara 6, Luis 7 (Dendoncker 87); Bailey 5.5 (Young 53 6), McGinn 8, Ramsey 7; Watkins 6.5 (Duran 87)
Goal: Ramsey 27
Yellow card: Mings, Digne, Martinez
Unused substitutes: Olsen (Gk), Traore, Buendia, Sinisalo
Manager: Unai Emery 7
Liverpool failed to register a single shot on goal in the first half, while the visitors posed a constant threat, their manager Unai Emery even waging a brief war of words on the bench with Liverpool assistant Peter Krawietz.
Watkins’ pace was evident as he pulled away from Ibrahima Konate after 22 minutes, forcing the defender to dive from behind and resulting in a clear penalty.
Unfortunately, Watkins’ composure then deserted him in front of The Kop and he dragged his shot wide with his right foot.
Liverpool should have learned their lesson, but they didn’t. They had four attempts to clear a corner before Douglas Luiz picked up the loose ball and sent a cross for Ramsey to convert with a muffled shot in the first half.
It was the 21-year-old’s sixth goal of the season, but his first away from Villa Park.
Klopp would not have impressed from his side’s defense with Ramsey left in acres of space to force Alisson into a big block.
Even so, Villa himself had a late scare shortly before half-time when Tyrone Mings caught Cody Gakpo in the chest and survived a VAR check to avoid a red card after being shown a yellow by Mr Brooks.
Salah recorded Liverpool’s first shot on goal after 51 minutes and they thought they had leveled after 53 minutes when Konate’s scraped shot was cleared off the line by Mings and Gakpo finished off the rebound, only for a lengthy check to determine. that Van Dijk was offside. in the construction.
The arrivals of Milner, Jota and Firmino gave Liverpool a new impetus in the closing stages. Villa, who had already seen Lucas Digne booked for delaying his departure early in the second half, had to hold their ground until the 100th minute, stoppage time due to their own delaying tactics and his habitual dodge.
Firmino has been confirmed as one of four players to leave Liverpool at the end of his contract at Anfield this summer.
Villa’s Spanish manager Unai Emery said he was ‘proud’ of his players for giving themselves something to play for.
The Liverpool players joined their families full-time in the Merseyside sunshine as they paid tribute not only to Milner and Firmino, but also to Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
However, the cold reality is that when those who remain report for pre-season training, it will be Thursday nights in the Europa League on their schedule.
Villa boss Emery said: ‘I’m proud of my players. I challenged them to have something to play for in our last home game and that will happen.
‘We played very well in the first half but it’s not easy to keep the pressure up. Getting three points would have been fantastic, but it was difficult in the last 10 minutes with their fans behind them.”