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Played
March 31, 2013 8:30 AM EDT
Villa Park — Birmingham
Referee:‬ L. Mason‎
Attendance:‬ 42037‎
 
31′ C. Benteke
 
Steven Gerrard 60′ (PG)
   
 
 

Player Ratings: Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers' side came from behind to pick up the three points at Villa Park, with Luis Suarez and Christian Benteke standing out for the two sides on the day.

By Ryan Benson

  • Bradley Guzan
    20
    2
    3.00

    Bradley Guzan

    The American had plenty to deal with against Luis Suarez and Co. but he definitely made his fair share of saves throughout the match, despite conceding two. Unlucky to be on the losing side.

  • Ron Vlaar
    5
    9
    1.50

    Ron Vlaar

    The most assured of Villa's backline on the day. He made some important blocks and interceptions, most notably against Suarez, but he often showed a lack of concentration on the ball and some of his passing was a bit alarming.

  • Joseph Bennett
    2
    11
    1.50

    Joseph Bennett

    The target of many moans and groans from the home crowd, Bennett struggled for much of the match. When up against Downing, he bizarrely let the England man cut inside on to his stronger left foot time and time again, and when he was in the attacking third, his passing was unimaginative. Generally he looked out of his depth.

  • Nathan Baker
    5
    12
    1.00

    Nathan Baker Flop of the Match

    With Ciaran Clark injured, Baker lined up at centre-back and had a tough afternoon. The interchanging and movement between Liverpool's front three tied knots in him as they twisted and turned. Just seconds into the second half he failed to pick up the run of Henderson for the equaliser and then fouled Suarez in the area with a wild tackle.

  • Matthew Lowton
    6
    8
    1.50

    Matthew Lowton

    Spent a lot of time in the Liverpool half, but that meant he was caught out of position a fair amount. He provided a great cross for Agbonlahor early on, but when defending he looked very uncomfortable against Suarez and Coutinho.

  • Ashley Westwood
    6
    5
    2.00

    Ashley Westwood

    A mixed bag in the centre of midfield. On occasion he produced some excellent passes which split the Liverpool team, but at times he hopelessly gave possession away in a comfortable area. Showed potential, but has a lot to improve on.

  • Yacouba Sylla
    7
    9
    2.50

    Yacouba Sylla

    A powerful presence in the middle, the January signing looked good on the ball and never ducked from a challenge. However, he did look a bit unaware of what was around him at times.

  • Barry Bannan
    4
    11
    1.00

    Barry Bannan

    A few times he brilliantly jinked away from his marker before sliding a good pass through to one of the front men, but there were plenty of instances when he passed straight to a Liverpool man, and he nearly laid on the assist for a Suarez equaliser. Tracked back well, but drew the wrath of the crowd after a pretty awful first half.

  • Gabriel Agbonlahor
    21
    5
    3.50

    Gabriel Agbonlahor

    The rapid forward has certainly been hit and miss this season, but against Liverpool he was very good. Many times he dropped deep and ran with the ball, and he was just as prominent down the wing. Should have scored with a tap-in which he hit straight at Reina, but his lovely cushioned knockdown set up Benteke's opener.

  • C. Benteke
    40
    6
    4.00

    C. Benteke

    Undoubtedly one of the revelations of the season, Benteke was unplayable yet again. He made the most of long balls up the pitch, his hold-up play was exceptional and he bullied Carragher. Capped his performance with a very good finish from the edge of the area. He was quieter after the break, but through no fault of his own.

  • Andreas Weimann
    6
    9
    1.50

    Andreas Weimann

    One of the few bright sparks of Villa's season has been the energetic Austrian, but against Liverpool he showed he still has a lot of developing to do. With the ball, his touch regularly let him down, and his final ball left a lot to be desired.

Substitutions

  • Karim El Ahmadi
    1
    9
    2.00

    Karim El Ahmadi

    Came on for the final 10 minutes or so but had little influence on the match.

  • Charles N'Zogbia
    1
    9
    1.00

    Charles N'Zogbia

    Introduced with just under 30 minutes left, replacing Weimann, but hardly had a kick in a very ineffectual cameo.

  • Fabian Delph
    3
    7
    1.50

    Fabian Delph

    The former Leeds prodigy came on for the poor Bannan with 25 minutes to go, but he was unable to inject any spark or imagination into the Villa midfield.

  • Pepe Reina
    51
    5
    2.50

    Pepe Reina

    Had nowhere near as much to do as his opposite number, and in truth he generally coped fairly well with what Villa did throw at him. He may feel a little disappointed that he couldn't palm Benteke's opening goal away, however.

  • Glen Johnson
    50
    9
    3.00

    Glen Johnson

    Spent most of the match in Villa's half, but was relatively subdued. Rarely did he get in behind a vulnerable Bennett, generally cutting inside and on to his left foot.

  • José Enrique
    46
    8
    3.00

    José Enrique

    Probably one of the Spaniard's easiest afternoons in a Liverpool shirt. The only Villa player who ever really came out to their right was Weimann, and he was not that effective. A comfortable afternoon on the whole.

  • Daniel Agger
    59
    7
    3.00

    Daniel Agger

    Carragher had his hands full with Benteke, meaning Agger generally had to keep Weimann under control, and he did just that, ensuring that the Austrian posed little threat when around the area.

  • Jamie Carragher
    39
    39
    1.50

    Jamie Carragher

    Came in for Martin Skrtel, who had been dropped to the bench, but endured a long day against the monstrous Benteke. The forward's strength was too much for the veteran, who hardly managed to stick a foot in against him all afternoon.

  • Steven Gerrard
    100
    5
    3.50

    Steven Gerrard

    Calm, composed and a driving force - everything you would expect from the England man. Distribution-wise he was accurate, as was the case with his tackling, and he put Liverpool ahead with a perfect penalty before clearing a Benteke header off the line.

  • Coutinho
    107
    4
    3.50

    Coutinho

    Blew hot and cold as he showed flashes of his brilliance on the ball before going quiet. However, after the break he was a lot more lively as he claimed an excellent assist for his pass through to Henderson and found himself involved in most of Liverpool's attacks.

  • Jordan Henderson
    83
    5
    3.50

    Jordan Henderson

    Looked sloppy early on, but he grew into the match. His passing was very positive as he looked forward whenever he could, and his excellent movement saw him equalise for the hosts.

  • Stewart Downing
    68
    12
    3.50

    Stewart Downing

    Received plenty of unwanted attention and abuse from the home fans, but he did not let that put him off his game and he put in a decent shift. Bennett seriously struggled to keep him in check, and his link-up play with the other Liverpool attackers was solid.

  • Lucas Leiva
    58
    17
    3.00

    Lucas Leiva

    The Brazilian's injury problems over the last 18 months have been well-documented and Liverpool have certainly missed him, so having him back is a boost. He is not back to his best yet, however, as he often let his man slip away from him.

  • Luis Suárez
    115
    10
    4.00

    Luis Suárez Top of the Match

    Did virtually everything but score today. His trickery and ability when running at defenders had Villa squirming. They could not cope with his incredibly quick change of direction, as highlighted when he won the penalty.

Substitutions

  • Raheem Sterling
    43
    9
    2.00

    Raheem Sterling

    Brought on for the tiring Coutinho with 15 to go and he looked lively as he ran at Lowton whenever he could. His final ball was a little disappointing, however.

Results
 
Player Ratings
Tournament
Position
Ranking
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
29 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Man City
18 6
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Man United
15 2
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Man City
15 0