Post-mortem: A Liverpool side missing key players walk through Aston Villa

Few words are needed when describing the performance last night and even fewer words are needed when talking about the result. It really was very poor and we don't need to hear from players or the manager, we just need to see a little more focus and effort.

That focus could be spent working on how to get to the first ball, working on how to defend free kicks or corners and maybe spend a little time working on what to do at a throw in. But, they're so obvious, I'm sure they are worked on and I'm sure it is just nerves that make the players forget what they're supposed to be doing.

What the Papers Say

Paul Wilson, The Guardian
While Houllier still has many happy memories from his time at Anfield, his stewardship of Villa is rapidly being called into question. This was their fourth defeat in a row, and with only one win in their last 10 league games, Villa are just two points above the relegation zone.
James Corrigan, The Independent
In contrast, Villa, if only for the moment, appear rooted in the bottom half as their run worsens to one win in eight. In truth, this was not the rousing homecoming Houllier would perhaps have expected. In six seasons on Merseyside he won five trophies, four in one season, before making way in 2004. The applause was respectful but nothing more, but at least Anfield sang his name at the end and gave him more than Villa.

The Manager

Gerard Houllier
We're not the most confident team at the moment. We need to address a few problems.

The Players

Brad Friedel, Luke Young, Richard Dunne, James Collins, Stephen Warnock, Marc Albrighton (Pires, 65), Ciaran Clark (Delfouneso, HT), Jonathan Hogg, Stephen Ireland, Stewart Downing and Gabby Agbonlahor (Carew, 66). Substitutes not used; Brad Guzan, Carlos Cuellar, Eric Lichaj and Chris Herd.

Man of the Match

As I post this, Stewart Downing wins this with just under 46% of the vote and I'm not surprised. He has looked much better this season and is head and shoulders the best player we have at the club on current form.

Final Analysis

There are some things you just can't ignore and the most obvious of those, to me anyway, is we are 16th in the League and have lost the last four games. Yes, the football is looking better in terms of possession and passing and yes part of the process of change will mean results don't go our way, but how long should it take?

I don't have that answer, but I know one thing; anything other than a win when West Brom visit on Saturday could very well stir a few emotions with the natives.