Steven Gerrard admits he could have been more ambitious on his return to Anfield but says he did not want to go "gung ho" and get hammered.
The match was decided by Mohamed Salah's 67th-minute penalty.
The Egyptian was brought down by Tyrone Mings.
Aston Villa created problems in the last 15 minutes when Gerrard sent on Danny Ings and Emiliano Buendia.
He said: "We tried to get the balance right and I thought we did a good job of trying to contain Liverpool.
"You can try to be too gung ho and get hit for a scoreline which doesn’t help.
"The plan was to try to take it to the latter stages and then throw more players on from the side and get more of our attacking players on the pitch.
"We’ll analyse and I’ll look at myself and whether I should have done it earlier. We didn’t want to get gung ho."
A minute’s applause for the legendary Ray Kennedy ❤ pic.twitter.com/qF8rOREL6n
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 11, 2021
While his side ceded the majority of the possession, Gerrard felt the match hinged on two decisions.
One for Salah’s spot-kick and the other not given for a foul by Alisson on Ings.
"I thought we had a decent shout for one," he said.
"There was certainly contact from Alisson on Danny Ings and if you follow it there is a two-hand shove on Ollie Watkins."
"We thought that deserved the referee and VAR taking another look but it looked like they wanted to move on quickly.
"Ultimately we have lost the game in the other box, which we felt was a foul on Tyrone.
"It feels harsh but penalty box to penalty box Liverpool were better than us.
"I thought we were were defensively sound for the majority of the game.
"To lose it to a penalty was hard but you could see Liverpool were a level above."
Gerrard admitted his return to his boyhood club but was an emotional experience.
The home fans sang his name early in the game and again after the final whistle.
"When you take a job in the Premier League you have to understand you are going to have these days," he added.
"You understand there will be emotion around it for me and my family.
"I tried to focus on Aston Villa and make sure that was the priority.
"I was very respectful and thankful for the reception I got.
"Which was only natural because of the years of my life I gave to this is club."
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