Football Expert & Columnist
Jamie Redknapp: Steven Gerrard recovered after poor first-half
Jamie Redknapp praised Steven Gerrard's recovery after a poor first-half against Aston Villa.
Last Updated: 19/01/14 9:19am
The Liverpool captain was asked by Brendan Rodgers to play in a deep-lying midfield role and struggled to make an impact in the opening 45 minutes as he was consistently marked by Andreas Weimann and Villa roared into a 2-0 lead.
Daniel Sturridge pulled one back on the stroke of half-time and Gerrard was allowed to play further forward in the second period following the introduction of Lucas from the bench.
He produced a killer pass for Luis Suarez that earned Liverpool a penalty that he scored and Redknapp was impressed with his improvement as the Reds earned a 2-2 draw.
"Steven Gerrard was instrumental in the second half," he told Saturday Night Football.
"He was in an area where he had a little bit more time and as the ball came to him he had 10 yards of space to pick out one of the best passes you'll ever see.
"That's as good a pass as Steven Gerrard has ever played at Anfield - and that's where they got the penalty from.
"Great players can turn it around. In the first-half Stevie was as bad as I've ever seen him play at Anfield, but in the second-half he had the impact to change the game for his team."
Villa boss Paul Lambert claimed after the game that a penalty should not have been awarded, arguing that Guzan had pulled his arms away.
But Redknapp - who watched the game alongside Villa legend Stiliyan Petrov in the Sky Sports studio - felt the referee made the right decision.
"I think it was," he added.
"When Brad Guzan comes running out as fast as he does, you are always asking for trouble.
"Luis Suarez's right foot just got caught under Guzan's belly and I just don't understand why Guzan came running out as fast asthat. Myself and Stiliyan Petrov both agreed it was a penalty.
"When a keeper comes running out at that pace it just takes the slightest nick. There have been other that I don't think have been with Luis Suarez - you don't need me to tell you that - but I thought there was a little bit of contact on his foot."
Despite throwing away a two-goal lead, Redknapp said he was impressed with Aston Villa's display and says they were well worth a draw at Anfield.
However, they have picked up just eight points and scored just eight goals in their 11 home games and he can't understand why they are struggling so much at Villa Park.
"I think the reaction of Paul Lambert told you exactly what sort of performance his team produced for him," Redknapp said.
"They were fantastic, certainly in the first-half and it would have been a travesty if they'd not got a point out of that game.
"Liverpool changed it in the second-half. They brought on Lucas and freed up Steven Gerrard and they were better in the second-half - they couldn't have been any worse! In the first-half they didn't have any flow to their game whatsoever.
"Aston Villa fans must be thinking 'why can't we play like that at home?' It's almost a shadow of themselves. When they play away from home they play with so much freedom on the counter-attack.
"They seem to be a very good counter-attacking side."