By Anthony Onifade

22nd May, 2023 | 12:10pm

Leon Bailey drops another worrying Aston Villa disasterclass v Liverpool, Unai Emery may have no choice but to sell

Aston Villa kept their European ambitions alive after an enthralling 1-1 draw against Liverpool which ended in nail-biting fashion at Anfield on Saturday (20 May).

Liverpool entered the game on a superb run of seven consecutive Premier League wins but Villa ended that run in terrific fashion in what was a tactically assured and dogged defensive display.

The Villans grabbed a deserved first-half opener through Jacob Ramsey’s sweet guided volley at the back post from Douglas Luiz’s wonderfully placed cross.

After trailing for large parts of the game against Villa, the Reds needed a desperate intervention from substitute Roberto Firmino, who set the place rocking with his leveller in front of the Kop.

Unai Emery’s men executed their game plan to perfection and were on the verge of a famous victory but for Firmino’s late leveller.

The visitors defended stubbornly, thanks to the likes of Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa at the heart of the defence while also posing a threat on the counter-attack and despite the disappointment of the equaliser, they have guaranteed themselves a top-10 finish for the first time in 12 years.

Emery had been forced to alter his tactics as a result of a lack of attacking options, with Ramsey and John McGinn taking up unfamiliar roles on the flanks but against Liverpool at Anfield, the Spaniard entrusted Bailey to provide the spark from the right flank.

However, the former Bayer Leverkusen man once again failed to deliver when his team needed him most. A worrying theme which has occurred consistently throughout his time at Villa Park.

Bailey has started 13 of the 24 Premier League matches Emery has taken charge of since replacing Steven Gerrard in the Villa hot seat in November, scoring just the customary two goals and providing a single assist which came up against Bournemouth [18 March] – his last goal contribution in Villa colours [WhoScored].

The Jamaican international was simply nowhere to be seen at Anfield on Sunday. While McGinn and Ramsey came up trumps for Emery in attack – despite their obvious midfield qualities – Bailey simply had no attacking spark to trouble Andrew Robertson and was largely kept quiet by the Scot throughout his 55 minutes on the pitch.

In fact, his stats for the game proved quite damning and will be giving Emery something to think about as he looks to significantly bolster and revamp his squad for next season.

As per SofaScore, Bailey only managed 15 touches all game, recorded only just three passes, failed to register a single key pass, had no shots on goal, failed to complete any of his two crosses and lost possession of the ball seven times in yet another a hapless display from such a talented forward.

The former Leverkusen man can have no complaints or excuses for his terrible inconsistency, Emery has given him plenty of opportunities to stake his claim in the Aston Villa team but to no avail.

With the Spaniard desperate for attacking talent in the transfer window this summer, Villa fans won’t be surprised to see Bailey shown the Villa Park exit door. Emery will simply have no time for inconsistency and lacklustre players next season.

In other Aston Villa news, the club should go all guns blazing for a £60million signing that Gabby Agbonlahor named a “superstar”.