Gary Neville told to change Premier League team of season as embarrassing error helps Liverpool

Gary Neville talks about Emiliano Martinez before Liverpool's game at Aston Villa
Gary Neville raved about Emiliano Martinez before Liverpool's game at Aston Villa -Credit:Sky Sports

Gary Neville waxed lyrical about Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez - only to see the goalkeeper make a shocking mistake moments into their game against Liverpool.

Martinez was caught off guard after just 60 seconds at Villa Park. A Harvey Elliott cross deflected awkwardly off Pau Torres and the goalkeeper inadvertently dropped the ball into his own net at the near post.

It gave Liverpool a dream start to Jürgen Klopp ’s penultimate game in charge and left Gary Neville with a lot to think about after his comments aged terribly. He had teased Martinez being his selection in his Premier League Team of the Season being named on Monday Night Football after the game - and he was quickly reminded he might need to reconsider.

“Gary Neville may want to rethink his Premier League Team of the Season now,” Rob Hawthorne joked on commentary duty. While it was a moment for Martinez to forget, Villa equalized via Youri Tielemans 10 minutes later. However, Cody Gakpo restored Liverpool's advantage as he got on the end of a Joe Gomez cross which evaded Martinez to tap in at the back post.

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Neville’s comments on the World Cup-winning goalkeeper remain valid in the wider context of the season. Villa entered the game needing a win to secure fourth place and Champions League football.

Neville said on Martinez before the game: “I love a goalkeeper that’s got a presence. Not just a physical presence but just generally on the pitch. He’s a little bit mad, confidence, massive character.

“I played with Peter Schmeichel who was a similar type of character. Amazing goalkeeper.

“I spent most of my train journey down this morning thinking about my Team of the Season, and he’s teased before that Villa fans are going to have good news at half 10 and they’ve going to have good news from me.

“I love Alisson as well, I think Alisson’s been the best in the world in the last few years, but I just think what Martinez has done this season, Villa and where they are, he’s a massive part of that.

“I imagine in that dressing room the way he gives confidence to that team is unbelievable. Just a World Cup winner, everything that brings.” says: It was a moment to forget for Martinez to start the game, and the timing couldn’t have been worse for Neville after singling him out before the game. But the Villa stopper has been a key part of their success this season, and even the best goalkeepers make mistakes.

While Neville ranks Alisson as the best in the world in recent years, even the Liverpool goalkeeper hasn’t been immune from making mistakes. While Alisson could well have deserved a place in Neville’s team, it’s hard to begrudge his Martinez selection even after his error against the Reds.