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'Out of steam': Gerrard admits 'outstanding' Aston Villa player was absolutely shattered on the pitch v Liverpool

Steven Gerrard says Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba tired against Liverpool last night at Villa Park.

Villa started like a steam train, racing into a 1-0 lead via Nakamba’s midfield colleague Douglas Luiz but it was 1-1 in no time thanks to Joel Matip.

The home side’s performance was worth a draw at least but Sadio Mane’s header kept Liverpool’s title hopes alive and left Gerrard frustrated against his former club.

Speaking to the club’s official website after the game, Gerrard admitted that Nakamba got tired in the second half, which is to be expected on his first start since December’s 1-0 defeat at Anfield.

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Nakamba tired against Liverpool

“I thought Dougie’s performance was outstanding,” said Gerrard of Villa goalscorer Luiz.

“I think he’ll be disappointed with the moment leading up to the second goal, but unfortunately Nakamba had run out of steam and we had to move him into a different position.

“We didn’t want to do that in an ideal world but we knew before the game that Nakamba would run out of steam and we had to make that change.”

Luiz started the game on the right of the midfield diamond but had to move deeper to the base of midfield as Villa made changes, with Jacob Ramsey also absent.

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It was a great effort from Nakamba after so long out and he helped offer the energy which meant Villa matched Liverpool for much of the evening.

Perhaps Danny Ings could have been sharper in front of goal and if he had been, he could have left his former club’s title hopes in tatters.

You can see where Gerrard wants to take this Villa side. There are still strides to make, in terms of sharpening up the passing in deep areas and being more clinical when chances come their way.

Villa could still have a say in the title race when they host Manchester City on the final day of the season, and if they play like this, Pep Guardiola’s men will have a real game on their hands.

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