Before beginning, I'd like to point out that I've spent the last two days trying to forget this game, so you have my deepest apologies if it's not up to par. Also, you may have noticed that I've changed my username. Blunatic just didn't seem to be a fitting name for writing for a Liverpool blog. Anyway, onto the best/worst. Hopefully you enjoy it more than you enjoyed the game.
Best Liverpool Player: Lazar Markovic
Markovic replaced Sterling in the starting lineup this week, and he pretty much took over Sterling's role as the most dangerous Liverpool attacker, although that didn't mean much in this one. Liverpool did very few positive things going forward, but most of them came through Markovic. He was one of the few bright spots.
Worst Liverpool Player: Philippe Coutinho
Although a strong argument could be made for Lovren because of his horrible set piece defending, I'm going with Coutinho who was once again extremely disappointing. I don't know what happened to the Coutinho who was constantly producing magic with the ball at his feet, but I really wish he'd make a return, because the Coutinho we're seeing now just isn't cutting it. Also, whoever told him that it was okay to shoot from 25 yards deserves a swift kick in the dick.
Best Opposing Player: Philippe Senderos
Senderos was key in Villa's goal, getting the header off the corner that led to Agbonlahor putting it in the net. Perhaps more importantly, he was key in taking Mario Balotelli out of the game. Villa's defense completely shut down Balotelli, and Senderos was the main reason for it. As a result, Liverpool couldn't generate anything through the middle, and were forced to try crosses and long shots to little effect.
Worst Miss: Philippe Coutinho
I'm not even pointing to a specific shot. Just take your pick of literally any shot he took other than the one that hit the post. He should not shoot nearly as often as he does.
Best Managerial Decision: Villa's defense harassing Balotelli
This was a pretty genius strategy. Balotelli is well known for being crazy, and I'm sure they thought the more their defense hacked and pushed Balotelli, the more likely he'd be to do something stupid and get himself sent off. Bravo to Balotelli for not letting it get the better of him (more on that later).
Worst Managerial Decision: Leaving Coutinho on for the full 90
I've pretty much covered this already. I understand that Markovic and Lallana both probably had a minute limit, but Coutinho was completely ineffective, and adjustments to the plan needed to be made to get a player who was contributing virtually nothing off of the pitch.
Best Show of Restraint: Mario Balotelli
I thought for sure, and I know I'm definitely not alone in this, Balotelli was going to snap at some point with the way he was being abused by the Villa defense, especially that Senderos trip away from the ball. I was really impressed that Mario kept his cool and didn't do anything stupid.
Worst Referee Decision: No call on Senderos trip
This was really bad. Senderos went out of his way to trip Balotelli on what looked to be a dangerous run well away from the ball, and it went completely uncalled. Not only should it have been a foul, he should have been carded, and he was very fortunate to get away with it.
Vote for you MOTM below and take solace in the thought that we'll be watching Liverpool play in the Champion's League in less than 24 hours.