Liverpool saw off a spirited second half performance from Aston Villa to grab a 3-1 victory on Boxing Day at Villa Park.

The Reds were far from their best, but the three crucial points meant that Jurgen Klopp’s side are now back in the hunt for a top four finish.

This was also the first time that that the Merseyside outfit won three consecutive games since finishing off strongly last season.

Salah opens scoring

Mohammed Salah opened the scoring for the Reds in the fifth minute after right back Trent Alexander-Arnold found Andy Robertson with an outrageous long ball, the latter who laid it on a plate for the Egyptian to give Liverpool a quickfire start.

The goal meant Salah has now equaled club legend Kenny Dalglish’s goal scoring record for the Anfield side. This was also Roberton’s 54th assist in 231 games, the highest by any defender in Premier League history.

Liverpool could have easily been 2-0 ahead had Darwin Nunez not missed a golden opportunity when through on goal and only Olsen to beat just at the half hour mark.

Virgil Van Dijk doubled the lead soon in the 37th minute following Alexander-Arnold’s corner with his left footed effort deflecting off Ezri Konsa past the helpless Robin Olsen in the Villa goal. Liverpool were cruising at half time with Villa hardly having any foothold on the game.

Aston Villa finally convert chances to a goal

The hosts however started the better of the two sides after the interval and had a goal disallowed from Ollie Watkins who appeared to be just offside on the buildup to the goal.

John McGinn spurned a glorious opportunity in the 48th minute after having been found by left back Lucas Digne. Mcginn who was unmarked at the far post was undecided to either strike or head the ball and saw the ball hit his shoulder before rolling to Alisson in the Liverpool goal.

Watkins however pulled one back for the home side with a strong header following Douglas Luiz’s wonderful ball from the right wing. The striker pulled away from Joel Matip and placed his excellent header past Alisson to give the Villains some hope with 30 minutes left.

Nunez missed a great opportunity in the 75th minute to put the game to bed but the Uruguayan shot wide after being put through on goal by Salah.

Four minutes later however, it was teenage substitute who made it 3-1 dinking the ball over Olsen and threading it through Tyrone Mings’ legs with great composure.

The 18-year-old had been on the pitch for just a couple of minutes and his goal meant that the Spaniard became the third youngest goal scorer in Liverpool’s history behind Michael Owen and Raheem Sterling.

This was Bajcetic’s second Premier league appearance and scoring the goal meant that he became the youngest Spanish goal scorer in the Premier League since Cesc Fabregas in 2004.

Liverpool currently sit sixth in the table with 25 points in 15 games, a point behind arch rivals Manchester United and 4 adrift of Tottenham Hotspur for a place in the top four.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Propaganda Photo