40 min Another good low cross, this time from Trezeguet, is claimed by Alisson.
39 min Grealish teases Alexander-Arnold and puts in a terrific cross that is headed behind by Robertson at the far post.
37 min Salah has Liverpool’s first shot, a volley from a narrow angle that Reina saves comfortably to his left.
36 min “Sure looks like Reds are super motivated to go for points record,” says George Meikle. “Or maybe not at all.”
I think they are, and I’m certain Klopp is. But the subconscious mind is a funny old game.
35 min A good break down the right from Trezeguet, whose cross is just too deep for El Ghazi.
33 min Douglas Luiz cracks a bouncing ball straight at Alisson from the edge of the area. Villa, almost unbelievably, will be starting to fancy their chances today.
30 min The corner did hit Konsa on the hand after he missed a stooping header, but I wouldn’t say his arm was in an unnatural position.
28 min Salah wins a corner for Liverpool. There’s an appeal for handball when Alexander-Arnold’s outswinger drops onto the body of a Villa defender. We haven’t seen a replay and play has continued.
27 min Dean Smith will be thrilled with how the match has gone so far. Despite all Liverpool’s posession, Pepe Reina hasn’t had a save to make.
23 min The drinks break presents Jurgen Klopp with the opportunity to tell his team what they’re doing wrong.
21 min Grealish’s free-kick is headed over by Konsa near the penalty spot. It was a half chance at best.
20 min Robertson is booked for a foul on Douglas Luiz. Liverpool are well off the pace – or, at least, well off their pace.
16 min It looks like Grealish is okay. It’s not a great match at the moment, with Liverpool not at their sharpest.
12 min Grealish is being treated for a problem with his right ankle. This is a worry for Villa, though he doesn’t look in too much pain.
10 min Liverpool keep the ball for 90 seconds or so before Oxlade-Chamberlain overhits a pass to Alexander-Arnold.
7 min It’s been a fairly low-key start, with Villa seeing plenty of the ball.
4 min Salah goes down in the area after a slightly clumsy challenge from Douglas Luiz. Paul Tierney waves play on and there’s no suggestion that VAR is going to get involved.
2 min Villa win an early corner down the left. Douglas Luiz works a short one with McGinn and dumps a cross into the middle that is cleared by Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Villa’s players have formed a guard of honour for the Liverpool players. No sign of Bernardo Silva though.
“The end-of-season medals were interesting in the pre-internet era,” says Phil Podolsky. “You suddenly saw some guys you had no idea were part of the team. Just as you had to wait for the first games of the season to learn about all the new players signed during the summer. Good times.”
You mean there was a world before the International Champions Cup?
Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Villa Park in November, when they were a goal down with four minutes remaining, was one of the most important of the season. Had they lost that day they would have been only three points clear of the champions Manchester City. Eight days later, after routing City at Anfield, they were nine clear.
Godspeed, Villa department Liverpool have won their last 23 Premier League games at Anfield, an English top-flighr record. And in the last two league seasons, their record at home is P35 W33 D2 L0 F99 A22.
Liverpool (4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Origi, Mane.
Substitutes: Adrian, Williams, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Jones, Elliott, Firmino, Minamino, Shaqiri.
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1) Reina; Konsa, Hause, Mings, Taylor; McGinn, Douglas Luiz; El Ghazi, Grealish, Trezeguet; Davis.
Substitutes: Nyland, Guilbert, El Mohamady, Lansbury, Nakamba, Hourihane, Jota, Vassilev, Samatta.
Referee Paul Tierney.
Hello. We’re all friends here, so let us speak frankly. This is not the triumphant homecoming that Liverpool envisaged as they rampaged towards their first title in 30 years. But the first game at Anfield since Liverpool were confirmed as champions is still an opportune moment to celebrate an immortal group of players who have climbed Everest in record time. The pubs are open, Britain is Great again; what else are we going to do?
Liverpool would have been of a mind to put on a show even before their 4-0 defeat at Manchester City on Thursday. Now they will want to make Villa – and City – pay for that mild embarrassment. If Liverpool win five of their last six games, they will break City’s records for the most points (100) and wins (32) in an English top-flight season. One thing’s for sure: I wouldn’t fancy being an Aston Villa defender for the next few hours.
Kick off 4.30pm.