Liverpool will head into this weekend's showdown with Aston Villa having received a massive psychological boost against Stoke City - that's the view of Kop legend Jan Molby.

It was Daniel Sturridge's first-half goal that ultimately proved the difference against the Potters, but Simon Mignolet's 88th minute penalty save from Jonathan Walters made sure Brendan Rodgers' side would begin 2013-14 with three points.

Molby believes the dramatic manner of the 1-0 win means the Reds will make the journey to Villa Park high on confidence.

"The dramatic nature of the win over Stoke was a massive psychological boost for Simon Mignolet and the Liverpool squad in general," he wrote in his Liverpool Echo column.

"It's funny because people talk about Stewart Downing's first game for Liverpool when he hit the bar after a great run.

"It comes down to small margins and little things can have a big influence on careers.

"Mignolet looked nervous but at the end he popped up as the hero.

"It was fully deserved as there was a freshness and an energy about the way Liverpool played.


"They pressed Stoke high up the field to stop them playing it out and forced them into making mistakes.

"They zipped the ball around at pace before tiring in the last 20 minutes. The only thing lacking was a finishing touch as Liverpool deserved another two or three goals.

"It's a big thing to get off to a winning start. Just look at the likes of Sunderland and Newcastle who lost last weekend.

"Their training grounds will have been miserable places this week and they are carrying a big burden this weekend. Liverpool don't go into their game at Aston Villa with that kind of pressure."