Liverpool returns to Winning ways with 2-0 win over Aston Villa

Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (C left) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on July 5, 2020.

Liverpool returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over relegation-threatened Aston Villa in their first match at Anfield as Premier League champions.

Jurgen Klopp's men struggled to find a sharp response to their drubbing at Manchester City as the visitors comfortably kept the Reds at bay for long spells in a dour encounter.

Pepe Reina made an Anfield return in the Villa goal and he was rarely called into action as the Merseysiders registered just one effort on target up until the 70th minute mark.

That all changed 60 seconds later when Sadio Mane broke the deadlock with a smart first-time finish to net his 20th goal of the season in all competitions.

Substitute Curtis Jones then marked the signing of his new long-term contract with his maiden Premier League goal, as he hooked in Mo Salah's knock down on 89 minutes.

Ahead of the contest Dean Smith had claimed Villa's critics would suggest the game was 'Mission Impossible' for his side, and so it proved despite a fine team effort that saw Anwar El Ghazi go close with their best effort midway through the second half. 

The Villans are now winless in nine outings and remain in the bottom three.

The win for Liverpool means the Merseysiders are still in the hunt to secure a new record points haul with 12 now required from five matches to surpass City's tally of 100 set back in 2017-18.

Next up, Liverpool travel to Brighton on Wednesday while Villa host Manchester United on Thursday.

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