What a difference having a fit side with proper starters makes!
Liverpool looked like a completely different club at Villa Park.
Granted, Aston Villa already appear to have resigned themselves to the Championship, but that did not stop the new-look Reds from ripping the Villans apart on Valentine’s Day.
The contrast between a Liverpool with creative players and cutting edge and one without them cannot be overstated. The starting 11 against Villa would undoubtedly be challenging for the top four had they all been able to take the field together more often.
Both sides started lively but the balance of quality quickly proved decisive. Perhaps the greatest advantage of facing the league’s worst side was that it allowed players returning from injury time to shake off rust.
That being said, Aston Villa even got Kolo’d, maybe the most ominous of omens.
Liverpool lacked precision and timing until Philippe Coutinho found Daniel Sturridge with a sublime, curled cross that the striker nodded home with ease. Confidence coursed through the side as the club’s classiest partners announced their return.
It was the beginning of something altogether unlike anything this season.
Here are four findings from the match.