Liverpool 1 Aston Villa 3 - match report
Belgium powerhouse Christian Benteke scored twice and set up another goal as he inspired Aston Villa to a memorable victory over Liverpool at Anfield.
The £6m signing from Genk has proved to be one of the bargains of the season and took his Premier League tally to five with two fine strikes.
Andreas Weimann followed up his brace against Norwich in the Capital One Cup during week with the other goal after he was set up by clever backheel from Benteke.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard pulled a late consolation back for the home side but they struggled to break down an organised Villa defence.
Paul Lambert made one change from the side which drew 0-0 with Stoke in the league last time out as Weimann came into the side for Gabby Agbonlahor who missed out with a strain.
The visitors had a chance in the second minute when Barry Bannan's free-kick found Benteke who saw his shot comfortably gathered by Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal.
Liverpool went close when Stewart Downing's put a fizzing low cross into the penalty area which was almost turned into the Villa goal by Eric Lichaj but Brad Guzan reacted well to gather.
Luis Suarez disposed Chris Herd in a dangerous position in the 16th minute and teed up Jonjo Shelvey but Nathan Baker produced a brilliant last-ditch tackle to block the Liverpool midfielder's shot.
Guzan was forced to make a good save from Suarez in the 26th minute when Daniel Agger's cross-field pass found Shelvey and he laid the ball into the Uruguay forward.
However, despite the home side's dominance it was Villa who took the lead in the 29th minute when Brett Holman fed Benteke who saw space open up in front of him as the Liverpool backed off.
And the Belgium international took full advantage and directed a low shot into the bottom-left corner of the net past the dive of Reina.
The goal lifted the confidence of the Villa players and a mistake by Glen Johnson almost let in Weimann but he could only lift his shot on to the roof of the net.
Weimann made amends five minutes before half-time though as he bagged Villa's second goal to silence the Kop.
The Austria international played the ball out to Benteke and then charged into the penalty area to get on the end of his return pass and blasted a low shot past Reina from just outside the six-yard box.
Villa's travelling fans were in dreamland six minutes after the interval when Lambert's side increased their lead courtesy of Benteke's second of the game.
Holman stole possession off Liverpool substitute Joe Cole and played it forward to Benteke who showed great strength to shrug off the attentions of three red shirts and curled a shot past Reina.
Predictably Liverpool enjoyed the bulk of possession in the remainder of the contest but struggled to penetrate a disciplined Villa backline.
Cole struck a speculative half-volley past the post on the hour-mark while Suarez's free-kick pinged around the six-yard box five minutes later but a combination of Guzan and Baker cleared the ball.
Liverpool seemed devoid of ideas on how to break Villa down and the claret and blues almost nicked a fourth on the counter attack when Weimann headed wide from Bannan's cross in the 80th minute.
The home side eventually scored in the 87th minute when Jordan Henderson played in Johnson and he cut inside to curl a low shot, which deflected off the head of Gerrard, past Guzan. But it was Villa who collected the points.
By Timothy Abraham
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