Daniel Sturridge’s classy winner sunk Villa to condemn the hosts to successive Premier League defeats.
The ex-claret and blue trainee struck in the first half as Villa paid the price for a poor start where Liverpool dictated.
Simon Mignolet brilliantly denied Christian Benteke a late leveller with Gabby Agbonlahor also going close.
Villa improved but they allowed Liverpool to dominate for long spells of the first half and then failed to find the breakthrough despite a rousing recovery.
Leandro Bacuna replaced Karim El Ahmadi for his full debut with Jores Okore also starting as Ciaran Clark made the bench after being kicked in the head against Chelsea.
Liverpool, without the banned Luis Suarez, were unchanged from their opening day win over Stoke.
Gabby Agbonlahor threatened with his pace and one drive deflected to Mignolet while Liverpool tried to boss the early possession.
Villa pressed the visitors who were restricted to brief sights of the hosts’ goal as Sturridge was forced wide after escaping and Phillipe Coutinho firing over.
And Liverpool took a deserved lead on 20 minutes with a wonderful goal by former Villa kid Sturridge.
Coutinho dummied Jose Enrique’s low cross to outfox Ron Vlaar and Sturridge glided past Antonio Luna, rounded Brad Guzan and poked into the roof of the net.
Liverpool’s fluid forward line gave Villa problems and with the Reds comfortable on the ball the hosts struggled to regroup.
Bacuna fired well wide in a brief Villa attack with Liverpool happy to hold their lead until the hosts woke up five minutes from the break.
Bacuna’s shot was charged down by Kolo Toure and, from the corner, Benteke forced Mignolet into a sprawling save when he won the ball at the far post.
Andi Weimann, who had been quiet, then saw his drive deflect over as Villa finished the half strongly.
And they took it into the second as they set about Liverpool to loosen their stranglehold on possession.
Ashley Westwood twice blazed over with Villa’s tempo much higher and the visitors unable to dictate.
Weimann was finding space on the right and Fabian Delph was again impressing in the middle.
Substitute Karim El Ahmadi’s shot was charged down by Gerrard before Benteke headed wide 20 minutes from time as the Villa pressure grew.
Weimann glanced Bacuna’s cross wide and Agbonlahor missed with 15 minutes left when he volleyed wide from 18-yards after Toure half cleared.
Liverpool were being pegged back and Mignolet gathered Aleksandar Tonev’s shot and then showed the Reds’ nerves when he conceded a corner from Daniel Agger’s awful backpass.
It was a rousing finish by Villa, with Liverpool’s first-half composure missing, and Benteke forced a wonderful save from Mignolet with four minutes left.
Substitute Nicklas Helenius nodded over the Liverpool defence and Benteke’s fierce volley was brilliantly turned wide by Belgian team-mate Mignolet.
Liverpool wanted a penalty after Guzan seemed to bring down Sturridge late on but despite a big finish Villa couldn’t recover.