Aston Villa vs Liverpool, summary: Bajcetic goal, score, goals & highlights | Premier League Boxing Day 22-23
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: as it happened
Who is Liverpool's new midfield sensation, Stefan Bajcetic?
Was that a Player of the Match performance?
I think so.
Here are Andy Robertson's numbers for the game:
Not a bad player to be compared to...
It was quite the baptism of fire for Bajcetic, starting his Premier League career with a goal!
Full time: Aston Villa 1-3 Liverpool
Liverpool win their 3rd game in a row and are now into the top six.
Free-kick for Villa. Into the last minute.
Aston Villa continue to probe in the last minutes of the match. Liverpool content to sit back.
4 minutes added on.
Liverpool win a corner after good work from Doak, who worked it well down the right wing.
Aston Villa are pressing to get something from this game. Liverpool are trying to counter it by holding the ball well at the back.
Bailey, Buendía and Kamara OFF
Ings, Coutinho and Dendoncker ON
Aston Villa are preparing some substitutions...
Darwin brought down in the box. Challenge waved away by the referee.
Darwin is played over and he brings the ball down with a lovely touch. He smacks the ball into the centre of the box from the left and Olsen saves, but Bajcetic gets on the rebound, skips past a challenge and puts it in the back of the net for his first senior goal.
Bailey looks to be able to come back on.
Alexander-Arnold and Henderson OFF
Gomez (100th Premier League appearance) and Bajcetic ON
The referee stops play after Bailey goes down with a head injury. The striker was inches from meeting the cross which would have been a certain goal. What a crazy game.
Salah played Darwin behind the defence from inside his own half and the striker ran all the way, burning past the defender, before placing his shot a metre wide of the post.
Núñez!!! SO CLOSE AGAIN
Aston Villa now with some possession, tempting Liverpool out of their defensive shape...
Almost a crazy goal as Alisson jumps to collect a high ball that spun into the air. He drops it and the ball almost falls into the net.
The referee called a free kick for a supposed foul on the goalkeeper from Watkins.
Corner for Liverpool after a bad pass from Young puts his goalkeeper under pressure.
Alisson holds onto the ball for about 10 seconds, waiting for Villa to press. Everbody suddenly looks tired.
Naby Keita, if you are reading this, for the sake of my neck muscles, calm this game down...
Thiago and Oxlade-Cahmberlain OFF
Elliott and Keita ON
He slips in Núñez at the far post but... guess what??
Aston Villa are attacking again! Liverpool are on the ropes here and surviving the constant waves of pressure.
CHANCE AGAIN FOR VILLA
THIS GAME IS LOCO.
I said the match was like a melted jellyfish, and I don't know what has less structure than that - but this game is definitely that!
THE BALL IS FIRED IN BY DOUGLAS LUIZ AND WATKINS LEAPS AND HEADS BACK ACROSS GOAL, PAST ALISSON. GAME ON!!
WHAT A HEADER
Bailey! So close!
The ball came from the left and the striker misses the ball inside the box!!
So many chances spurned this half!
Liverpool are (understandably) taking their time now with possession.
Digne now with a chance after he cuts in well from the left! Saved!
Chances at both ends in the opening minutes here, the game has less structure than a melted jellyfish.
FABINHO JUST WIDE FROM RANGE!
Thiago spoons a shot high and wide...
HUGE CHANCE FOR SALAH ON THE COUNTER!
He takes too long to shoot after breaking through on his own and it's a good save from the Villa goalkeeper.
Free-kick for Villa out on the right wing. About to be whipped in by Digne...
Buendia with a BIG CHANCE to score!!!
The ball from left was met by the attacker but he can't get his shot on target. Just wide. Liverpool look rattled so far in this half!
HUGE CHANCE FOR MCGINN!! HE MISSED A HEADER FROM A YARD OUT!
Villa have started very brightly here...
Buendía played Watkins through the high line Liverpool started with and the striker slid the ball into the far corner. VAR says offside!
Here we go for the second half!
Liverpool kick us off.
The teams are on their way out now...
That was a crazy half of football. Liverpool are winning because they took their chances, simple as. Well, everybody except Darwin Núñez, who has missed about 50,000.
Aston Villa looked very dangerous before Liverpool silenced them with a great opener. The second goal from Van Dijk looks to have squished them down from a bulldozing metal sphere into a ping-pong ball sized threat; Liverpool continue to bat them against the wall with their forward players.
And that's that for now!
Half time: Aston Villa 0-2 Liverpool
Salah booked for a foul
NÚÑEZ WITH A HUGE CHANCE!!!!!!
Is he the most frustrating player in the world?
Alexander-Arnold whipped in a beautiful cross from the right and Darwin was on his own, a few yards away from the goal, but he can't connect well with the ball and it's an easy save for the goalkeeper.
3 minutes added on.
Henderson hits a bouncing ball into the hands of Olsen.
One to go until half-time. Liverpool are still probing.
The Villa Park crowd explodes after the referee gives a decision against Bailey. There is a lot of frustration building...
Buendía puts the ball through Salah's legs, who looks absolutely destroyed by it.
A great attack (again) from Liverpool breaks down after Núñez takes 35 years to play the ball into the box. He decides to recycle it instead.
A corner for Liverpool is whipped in and the ball falls to Van Dijk, who passes it past the goalkeeper.
It looked like it might have hit Mings on the way in...
ANOTHER CHANCE FOR LIVERPOOL!
Oxlade-Chamberlain ran for years and years down the pitch before laying off to Núñez, whose shot was blocked by Konsa and cleared by Mings. Salah was lurking like a sneaky goal shark.
AMAZING DEFENDING FROM TYRONE MINGS
Núñez takes an age to run forward with the ball as he is played in behind and crosses to Salah, but the centre-back gets in the way brilliantly.
Ah, Núñez was offside.
Bailey almost slips in Watkins but the Liverpool defence cover the ball well.
CHANCE FOR SALAH!
A fantastic pass from Henderson to Salah down the right channel, but his shot is dragged wide.
CHANCE FOR LIVERPOOL!!!!!
WHAT A CRAZY MINUTE OF FOOTBALL!!
Aston Villa winger Buendía backheels the ball to Digne who is brought down in the box. The referee waves away the calls for a penalty and Liverpool counter, with Núñez volleying an incredible effort straight into the legs of the Villa goalkeeper.
Referee Paul Tierney has a word with Fabinho after a handball decision goes against the Brazilian.
NÚNEZ WITH A CHANCE!
Offside! Robertson picked him out from the left but the Uruguayan was in an illegal position for the header.
Foul against van Dijk on Konsa. Relief for Villa.
Corner for Liverpool after some great work between Salah and Fabinho down the right.
Olsen decides he's had enough of Liverpool's dangerous passes in behind Villa's back line and he runs out and sends the ball into Row Z of the stand.
OFFSIDE FROM THE FREE-KICK
Robertson down after an unintentional but very, very dangerous stamp from Douglas Luiz...
He's back up.
And now a chance for Núñez!
He gets the ball from the left but can't get it out from underneath his feet... cleared away.
HUGE CHANCE FOR WATKINS!!!!
A sensational cross from McGinn out on the right finds Watkins but Alisson saves the header!
Young gives the ball away dangerously in his own half and it falls to Thiago, but Liverpool can't string an attack together quickly enough and Villa regroup.
Great play from Villa: Buendía plays a low ball in from the right, Watkins can't make contact and it rolls to Bailey who scuffs a poor effort that spins high into the air from a few yards out. A huge chance to draw level - wasted!
HUGE CHANCE FOR VILLA!!!!!
Liverpool are having a long spell of possession here, they've got absolute control of the game.
With that goal, Salah becomes the 7th highest goalscorer in Liverpool's history...
A few chances for Villa there but the goalkeeper does well.
Watkins called offside (just) after he fires a shot towards Alisson. It was a great save.
What a fabulous moment of football that goal was. Aston Villa have to regroup now...
Alexander-Arnold gets on the end of the clearance from the corner and plays a wonderful pass with the outside of his right boot to Robertson on the right, who plays it across the box to Salah to tap in. 1-0!
AND IT IS A BEAUTY
Back underway. Corner for Liverpool...
Mings is down injured...
He's having treatment on what looks like a knee injury...
SO CLOSE FROM LIVERPOOL
Robertson plays in a cross and Núñez should shoot but decides to step over the ball, leaving it for the surprised Salah who can't get on the end of it.
Villa start well and Watkins tests the Liverpool goalkeeper, which warms up the crowd.
We have a minute silence to mark the death of George Cohen, who won the World Cup with England in 1996 before the taking of the knee.
Villa kick us off from right to left.
Football is back! (even though it never left).
The players are in the tunnel... The Premier League is about to return to Villa Park!
Ten minutes to go!
The players have finished their warm up and are now heading into the tunnel for their final team talk!
The ground has filled up nicely and the huge flags are being placed in a lovely line for the players walk out next to. It's no giant, inflatable World Cup trophy, but it'll do nicely.
Player to watch: Aston Villa
I'm going with Emi Buendía, because I like him. The Argentinian winger obviously didn't get into Lionel Scaloni's squad but, at his best, he may not be far off the levels of someone his Premier League compatriot, Alexis Mac Allister, who made a huge impact during the World Cup.
The winger is a huge asset for Villa on and off the ball: he presses like a madman and has the flair when in possession to unlock defences and make things happen in a puff of smoke and a flash of light.
Half an hour to go!
Robertson starts for Liverpool today - if he gets an assist he will overtake ex-Everton defender Leighton Baines with the most Premier League assists. They are both currently on 53.
While we wait for kick-off, here's new on Aston Villa goalkeeper, Emi Martínez, on why he might not go back to his club...
The changing rooms are ready...
Obviously Aston Villa are in their home kit today, and now we know Liverpool will be playing in their third shirt, officially called 'Dark Atomic Teal'.
Both teams have just arrived at the stadium.
Liverpool starting XI:
TAA - Matip - Van Dijk - Robertson
Thiago - Fabinho - Henderson
Oxlade-Chamberlain - Núñez - Salah
Aston Villa starting XI:
Olsen starts behind a back 4 of Digne, Konsa,Mings and Young.
McGinn is the captain in midfield alongside Kamara and Douglas Luiz.
Buendía, Watkins and Bailey are up front.
Emery looking to break a record
No Aston Villa manager has ever won their first 3 league games and Emery currently has 2. If Danny Ings can continue his scoring form then perhaps they can take advantage of the shaky start to the season we saw from Jurgen Klopp's side.
Team news coming up shortly!
Bad news for Liverpool...
Brighton have just scored a third goal against Southampton... and are looking for more.
The chances that Southampton turn it around are looking slimmer by the minute.
How things look for Villa
Whatever happens, Villa are comfortably mid-table for today. However, in the Premier League, this guarantees nothing and Emery's side will be looking to creep away from the bottom three that threatens every team outside the top half until the final few weeks of the season.
How the league looks:
Even with a wi this evening, Liverpool won't make it in the top 5 of the league, but the Reds would definitely go one step further in their pursuit of turning around the poor start they had.
Liverpool recent results
Liverpool have won 5 consecutive Boxing Day games by an aggregate score of 15-0!
Can they keep up this frankly frightening record today?
Aston Villa recent results
Well, I guess they can still be called 'recent', right?
Emery has only beaten Klopp once in seven attempts. I'm not sure how much bearing these results will have on today's game, but it definitely shows that Villa were a hard team to predict in the first half of the season.
Aston Villa team news
Philippe Coutinho and Jacob Ramsey are both out with thigh injuries.
Dibu Martínez is still on holiday after his World Cup win; substitute goalkeeper Olsen is also a doubt.
Centre-back Diego Carlos is the long-term injury absentee for Villa.
Liverpool team news
Luis Diaz (knee), Arthur Melo (thigh) and Diogo Jota (calf) are all suffering long-term injuries, though Curtis Jones is nearing a return.
Roberto Firmino (calf) and James Milner (hamstring) have also been ruled out.
Trent Alexander Arnold is a doubt while Ibrahima Konaté isn't due to return to training until tomorrow.
Welcome, welcome, welcome to Boxing Day Premier League football! It's Joe here and thank you for joining the AS USA live coverage.
We've got a cracker today: Aston Villa vs Liverpool!