Coutinho-led front three can be unstoppable: Five things we learned from Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 6
Philippe Coutinho can revitalise Liverpool’s season, Daniel Sturridge must be wrapped in cotton wool and other things we learned from Liverpool 6 Aston Villa 0
By Editor Wayne Veysey
First-choice front three can be devastating
For the first time in his four-month reign, Jurgen Klopp was able to select what he would surely consider to be his first-choice front three – Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino. Even for players of such abundant ability and against such demoralised opponents, they would not have been expected to combine so devastatingly so quickly. Led by the magic feet of Coutinho, their movement and combination play was outstanding. The real joy for Liverpool supporters is the sense that there is so much more to come from them.
Sturridge must be wrapped in cotton wool
In what was only his 14th start in 96 competitive Liverpool matches, the injury-plagued striker demonstrated once again why he is several levels above the other forwards on the Anfield roster. Sturridge broke the deadlock with a clinical header and his mere presence provoked palpitations in the Villa back four. It almost goes without saying that the 26-year-old must be wrapped in cotton wool over the next three months. If he can play in half of Liverpool’s matches that would be a major bonus.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
Origi is above Benteke in pecking order
In what was clearly a premeditated plan, Divock Origi replaced Sturridge at the hour mark. Christian Benteke had to wait until the third member of Liverpool’s front three, Firmino, was withdrawn after 73 minutes before he was summoned from the bench. Benteke’s younger countryman is above him in the pecking order despite being fit for only his second appearance since Boxing Day. Origi justified Klopp’s faith by latching on to Coutinho’s wonderful outside-of-the-boot pass and sidefooting home Liverpool’s fourth goal in his first action of the match.
Villa are one of worst teams in Premier League history
By the time an unmarked Kolo Toure had stooped to head in Liverpool’s sixth goal, Remi Garde’s side had all but given up. This Valentine’s Day massacre was the nadir of a terrible season for Villa, who not only lack quality but character and guts as well. To add to the misery of supporters, this was the first time the team had lost by six goals at home since 1935. It is stating the obvious that Villa are heading into the Championship. They will also go down as one of the worst sides in Premier League history.
Liverpool share the attacking burden
For the first time in a Premier League match, Liverpool had six different names on the scoresheet. This was perhaps more symptomatic of Villa’s weaknesses than the attacking variety of the visitors, who have struggled to score goals when star pair Sturridge and Coutinho have been absent this season. But it will do wonders for the likes of Origi, Emre Can and Nathaniel Clyne that they were able to score rare Premier League goals.