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August 24, 2013
• Villa Park, Birmingham
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 42098
D. Sturridge 21'
Shots on Target
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME: Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool
90' + 2'
Tonev bursts past the challenge of Enrique on the left, but his cross in fails to find a claret and blue player in the box. A minute to go until full-time.
STURRIDGE! He's caught by Brad Guzan, who brings down the Liverpool attacker. Committed, but referee Clattenburg waves play on!
Yellow Card Lucas Leiva
TONEV! That's wide. Far wide. Should've done better with that chance.
YELLOW CARD - Lucas Leiva is in the book for chopping down Gabby Agbonlahor. Free-kick, about 30 metres out. One of the last chances for Aston Villa here. Tonev is over this.
Still, Villa cannot find the equaliser they require to take a point at home to Liverpool. Henderson with a fine one-two with Gerrard, into the box, helped on by Allen, but Leandro Bacuna is on hand to avert the danger.
BENTEKE! FANTASTIC SAVE FROM MIGNOLET! It's a superb stop from his compatriot. Benteke is finally in on goal, powers towards the goalkeeper who produces a fantastic stop, parries to his left. What a let-off!
SUBSTITUTION - Philippe Coutinho is off for Joe Allen.
SUBSTITUTION: Helenius is on for Aston Villa, in these last few minutes of this Premier League encounter.
Villa have really stepped up their efforts in the last few moments, in stark contrast to their opening 40 minutes in this game. They lead the possession count in the last ten minutes 75% to LFC's 25%.
Benteke's looking for a penalty here, after going down inside the penalty box. Referee Mark Clattenburg thinks otherwise, however.
TONEV! Good strike from distance, and it's well held by Simon Mignolet, who somehow concedes a corner comically soon after.
Luna, or 'Tony Moon' as he's known in Birmingham, makes a good run on the left, holding off Johnson, but not Gerrard, who again does fantastically well to win a throw-in off the full-back.
Villa showing a bit of intent now, as Vlaar starts another move deep. Towards Okore and then Tonev with a nice one-two. Lucas stumbles, and again Tonev makes good progress, but Gerrard challenges well to tackle the ball away.
AGBONLAHOR! Best chance for Villa yet. Fantastic cross into the area, headed on by Benteke, who again gets the better of Toure. Into the path of Agbonlahor, who fires narrowly wide of the goal.
Delph is fouled by Lucas Leiva, as he embarked on a bit of a run in midfield. Villa have no urgency about them, perhaps tiredness has caught up already, after three games in seven days?
SUBSTITUTION - Andi Weimann comes off for Aleksandar Tonev. The Bulgarian, is on for his home debut, having joined from Lech Poznan.
BENTEKE! Thought that went in. Good movement, getting in behind Kolo Toure, but his powerful header is just wide of the mark. That was Villa's sixth corner kick.
Agonlahor powers forward, finds Luna on the run on the left. The left-back is allowed a good cross into the box, but cleared behind for a corner by Steven Gerrard.
First Liverpool substitution - Iago Aspas is off for Aly Cissokho - who makes his debut, the former Lyon and Valencia left-back is on for the last 23 minutes.
Good move from Villa. Luna finds El Ahmadi on the edge of the area with a fine pass, but the substitute opts to strike for goal, but it's superbly blocked by Gerrard. Weimann furious, as he was free on the edge of the box!
Karim El Ahmadi
25 minutes left at Villa Park, as Agbonlahor races forward and does well to loop the ball back into the box, but Weimann is unable to maintain the attacking move.
SUBSTITUTION - Matthew Lowton, booked minutes ago, is substituted in favour of Karim El-Ahmadi.
Yellow Card Matthew Lowton
On the hour, from the corner, Kolo Toure and Glen Johnson combine to clear the ball behind. The Reds still bossing on the ball, but Villa have caught up on possession- 50-50%.
Okore with a fine challenge on Enrique, when play threatened to open up. Towards Weimann, but Villa have won the corner. More enterprising, more endeavour. Like it!
Westwood! Over the bar. The gap opens up as Delph plays the ball towards the midfielder, but his shot is always rising.
Liverpool's Lucas Leiva has enjoyed a good, if unassuming game so far: He has played the most passes on the pitch so far and has the best accuracy - 57 passes, 94.7% accuracy.
Aston Villa improving as time goes on, but the free-kick is blasted into the wall. Paul Lambert's men haven't really improved from set-pieces.
Aspas reprimanded for a foul on Agbonlahor on the edge of the area. Free-kick in a good position. Aspas treading on thin ice, already on a yellow card.
OUCH! Gerrard's cross from deep sees Agger challenge in the air with Brad Guzan. Both collide horribly, it looks as if Agger has done his shoulder, but will be able to continue.
Gerrard forward, and makes a neat pass towards Sturridge. The England star gets past the challenge of the left-back, with his low cross intended for Gerrard is blocked by Vlaar. Corner.
Benteke tries to turn away from Kolo Toure, but goes to ground looking for a free-kick. Liverpool get the ball forward, as Sturridge gives chase for Okore, who expertly gets the ball away.
Opta: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge now has eight goals in his last seven Premier League games after scoring in the first half!
Iago Aspas ruled offside after breaking clear. The Spaniard was just narrowly offside as he began tracking back to involve himself in the attack.
Dodgy moment for Liverpool's defence to deal with as Lowton makes a run on the right. His cross in is well dealt with by Agger, who gets the ball away.
Underway in the second half in Anfield. Liverpool attacking from left to right in this half.
HALF-TIME at Villa Park. Liverpool dominated for long periods of the first half, thanks to Daniel Sturridge's well-taken goal. But a late flurry from Villa has seen Paul Lambert's men with a base to improve on in the second half.
45' + 2'
HALF-TIME: Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Glen Johnson
45' + 1'
YELLOW CARD - Another booking, this time for Liverpool's Glen Johnson, who is guilty of a late challenge on Christian Benteke.
Better from Villa in the last few moments, as they've woken from their malaise it seems. Two added minutes at the end of the first half.
WEIMANN! Got a deflection, but it's a corner. Liverpool rattled for the first time in this game. Passed into the Austrian midfielder just inside the area, and his right footed effort is deflected via Agger off the bar.
It's taken this long for Villa to test Mignolet, but that they have. Superb strike it was for Benteke, who has been inactive for long periods of the first half.
BENTEKE! Great shot, and a good save from Mignolet. Westwood with the corner, into the Belgian, who turns expertly past two defenders to curl a shot which Mignolet is forced to stretch for.
Yellow Card Fabian Delph
Lowton with a neat ball towards Bacuna. The midfielder cuts in on his left, attempts to fire the shot away, but it's a fine block from Kolo Toure. It's a corner.
YELLOW CARD - Delph catches Sturridge late, and receives a booking for his efforts from referee Mark Clattenburg.
Liverpool look good value for their lead as the first half nearly draws to a close. Efficient, comfortable in possession. Easily able to deal with the threat of Benteke, only a second goal would really put the sides apart.
Luna brings the ball forward from the goal-kick. No urgency as of yet from Villa, but a superb ball from Bacuna towards Benteke opens up a chance. Agger blocks off the Belgian - no free-kick.
Mis-controlled by Benteke as Villa continue to struggle against a solid Liverpool defence. 10mins to go until half-time at Villa Park.
The Reds continue their fine progress, as Coutinho plays a sumptuous ball forward, towards Aspas and Sturridge to give chase, but Guzan's off his line to get the ball first.
Rodgers writing away his notes as Aspas frustratingly passes an inch behind Sturridge who races forward. Lowton on hand to clear the ball away.
Yellow Card Iago Aspas
Free-kick forward towards Gabby Agbonlahor, but the striker cannot latch onto the loose ball as it bounces harmlessly out of play.
YELLOW CARD: Iago Aspas shown a yellow card for a questionable challenge on Fabian Delph, who isn't best pleased with that tackle.
Coutinho plays a pass towards Sturridge, who fails to spot the defender behind him, and produces a sloppy backpass. Aston Villa break, but only briefly.
Liverpool have really bossed this encounter so far. Villa struggling to get possession, let alone testing Simon Mignolet. An impressive performance so far from Rodgers' side.
GERRARD! Just got away from him. Good ball through from Coutinho towards Gerrard as he advanced into the area. It rolls safely towards Guzan, nonetheless.
YELLOW CARD - Antonio Luna picks up his second booking of the season with a late challenge on Jordan Henderson.
Yellow Card Luna
That was a fantastic goal from the England international. Really did look like the chance went as he dithered on the ball after beating Guzan. Liverpool have deserved the breakthrough.
Assist José Enrique
Goal Daniel Sturridge
GOAL! ASTON VILLA 0-1 LIVERPOOL! Quite simply, a fantastic goal from Sturrdige. It's a fine pass from Enrique, and a beautiful dummy from Coutinho. Sturridge, with great composure and neat footwork evades the goalkeeper. It appears the chance has gone, but he lifts it into the net.
Liverpool closing down superbly, with Agbonlahor's pass intercepted on the halfway line by Lucas. Into Sturridge, on the wing. Back to Gerrard, and the move continues!
Coutinho gets past the challenge of Lowton, but Vlaar on hand to check the Brazilian's progress. Villa on the counter, with Luna and Delph, but Agger in a perfect position to close them down.
Edgy quarter of an hour here. Liverpool haven't tested Guzan as such, but Villa have failed to really venture out of their own half so far.
Coutinho! Poor shot, from a decent chance. Enrique shrugs off Bacuna easily, cuts back to the Brazilian. Westwood does well to close him down, but the 21-year-old's effort is wayward.
Bacuna, making his full debut for the Villans this afternoon, picks out Vlaar, and Delph in turn. Luna's pass is cut out by Sturridge, and Liverpool opt to maintain the tempo, keeping the ball in their half.
Henderson attempts to lift the ball into the box for Sturridge, but Vlaar with the header away at the first attempt. Liverpool leading possession 70% to Villa's 30%.
Ball over the top for Sturridge to give chase, but the unfavourable bounce brings it away from goal. He cuts back, off Okore, but Liverpool fail to make it count. On the counter, Weimann races forward, but Agger heads safely to Mignolet.
Liverpool slightly on top of things in the opening minutes of this Premier League encounter. Enrique with a smart pass towards Lucas Leiva, and the visitors just keeping possession and waiting for a pass to open up.
Long ball forward from Enrique catches Villa briefly unawares. Sturridge latches onto the loose ball, but unable to get past the challenge of Luna, with the ricochet knocking the ball out for a goal-kick.
Good movement forward by Johnson who cuts in on the overlap. What's more surprising is Gabby Agonblahor, who tracks back all the way to cover Johnson's shot, which is well blocked.
Gerrard again on the ball and attempts to locate Aspas with a long ball forward into the box. Well headed away by Antonio Luna - star of last week's game v Arsenal at the Emirates.
Ball is won by Johnson, who feeds Coutinho in the middle of the park. The Brazilian holds play briefly, towards Gerrard, but the captain's erratic pass flies out for a throw-in.
Agger moves forward with the ball, finds Coutinho, who loses out to Delph. VIlla break brilliantly, with the ball played long towards Benteke, but Toure checks the Belgian's progress. Weimann's shot blocked.
Coutinho loses the ball in midfield but Aston Villa are unable to make it count on the break. Aspas showing good movement as the Reds make progress on the wing, but Guzan claims possession of the ball.
Luna races forward on the far side, but the adventurous full-back runs the ball out of play. Gerrard and Sturridge combine as Liverpool bring the ball forward in midfield.
KICK-OFF! Underway at Villa Park, with the hosts getting us started. Liverpool in their change strip of white with black shorts, attacking from right to left.
The teams are out at Villa Park to rapturous applause. Villa's first home game of the season, kick-off moments away.
LIVERPOOL: Mignolet, Johnson, Toure, Agger, Jose Enrique, Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, Aspas, Coutinho, Sturridge. Subs: Cissokho, Jones, Alberto, Allen, Borini, Sterling, Wisdom.
ASTON VILLA: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Okore, Luna, Bacuna, Westwood, Delph, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor. Subs: Clark, El Ahmadi, Helenius, Steer, Herd, Sylla, Tonev.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
Liverpool are nine games unbeaten in the league, but Lambert's side are keen to show their impressive attacking style that saw them beat Arsenal, and push Chelsea all the way on Wednesday.
And Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is wary of the threats the hosts pose: "They are very much a counterattacking team that set up to defend half a pitch and then break out with the pace of Benteke, [Gabriel] Agbonlahor in particular and young Andreas Weimann on the side but our focus is really on our own game."
The Villans will be hoping for a first win at home against Liverpool since the final day of the 2011 season, with Liverpool prevailing 3-1 and 2-1 in both of their last visits to Villa Park. Christian Benteke scored three times against the Reds last year, however.
But nevertheless, Lambert, with top scorer Benteke line-up against a Liverpool side who started their season with a narrow 1-0 win over Stoke City. The Rodgers revolution continues at Anfield, where their new signings, particularly Iago Aspas and Simon Mignolet have looked rather sharp against the Potters last weekend.
Aston Villa, it's safe to say, have been the most talked about side in the league since the big kick-off last weekend. Paul Lambert's side got their campaign started with a stunning, and surprising 3-1 win over Arsenal at the Emirates, before they were frustratingly, and perhaps unluckily beaten 2-1 against Chelsea in midweek, in a fixture moved to compensate for Chelsea's participation in the UEFA Super Cup next week.
I'm Mohammed Ali, and I'm here once again to bring you all the coverage. Don't forget to get involved with the Goal.com match centre, leave your comments and predictions and interact!
Hello, and welcome to Goal's live Premier League coverage. Saturday's early evening kick-off sees Aston Villa take on Liverpool at Villa Park. After their opening performances in the league, it sure shapes up to be an intriguing encounter between the two.
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