Liverpool ease to comfortable victory at Villa Park

Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 2

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish celebrated his first league win as a
manager at Villa Park as first-half goals from Craig Bellamy and Martin
Skrtel ensured a comfortable victory over Alex McLeish's side.

Bellamy and Skrtel struck inside the first 15 minutes to seal the Reds' fifth away win in the Barclays Premier League this season.

But the star of the show was striker Luis Suarez who tormented the Villa defence and hit the bar and the post.

Former Villa winger Stewart Downing was booed by the home fans after his £20million summer move but he and Craig Bellamy caused problems down both flanks.

Villa missed the forward duo of suspended Gabriel Agbonlahor and injured Darren Bent and seldom looked like breaching what is the tightest defence in the Premier League with just 13 goals conceded.

But they were also guilty of frequently giving the ball away and only skipper Stiliyan Petrov had composure in midfield.

Villa started promisingly and Petrov curled a free-kick past the defensive wall and forced Pepe Reina to save away to his right.

Downing managed Liverpool's first effort on goal following a cross-field ball from Bellamy when he forced Brad Guzan to save at the foot of the post.

Then after 11 minutes Downing played a part in Bellamy giving Liverpool the lead.

His corner found Suarez inside the box and a back heel forced a fine instinctive save out of Guzan but Bellamy reacted first to the rebound for a simple tap-in.

Villa winger Charles N'Zogbia was yellow-carded for bringing down Glen Johnson two minutes later.

After 15 minutes Liverpool doubled their lead through Skrtel - and from another corner.

Villa failed to pick up the central defender as he attacked a Bellamy cross and his glancing header flew past Guzan.

Villa tried to counter-attack and Nathan Delfouneso had a 20-yard shot deflected wide and a long-range attempt from N'Zogbia was just off-target.

Delfouneso teed up the over-lapping N'Zogbia whose shot contained plenty of power but flew into the side-netting.

Charlie Adam was booked after 28 minutes for bringing down Emile Heskey.

Two minutes later Bellamy was yellow-carded for fouling Alan Hutton to the right of the Liverpool box.

But Delfouneso could not keep his header down from Albrighton's free-kick.

Villa were trying to get a foothold in the game but Liverpool continued to look more dangerous and Richard Dunne blocked a first-time attempt from Shelvey after he ran on to Suarez's pass.

Liverpool began the second half on the offensive and twice went close to adding to their lead.

Bellamy's pace took him clear of the Villa defence down the left flank and his cross was headed wide by Daniel Agger.

Then Suarez showed sublime skill in evading the challenges of Dunne and James Collins and from 10 yards out he crashed his shot against the bar.

Villa were giving the ball away too easily and a mistake by Stephen Warnock allowed Johnson time to line up a shot which was turned aside by Guzan.

Reina was forced into a rare save in getting his body behind a low effort from N'Zogbia.

But Suarez was denied by the woodwork again after chipping Guzan following a pinpoint 40 yard ball from Downing.

Guzan turned aside Shelvey's cross-shot and Adam had shot deflected wide when Shelvey was unmarked 10 yards out to his left.

Dalglish brought on Andy Carroll after 74 minutes for Suarez who was given a standing ovation by the Liverpool fans.

Villa substitute Barry Bannan appealed in vain for handball when his shot struck Agger and flew out for a corner.

PA

Sport
Super BowlAfter Katy Perry madness it's back to The Independent's live coverage of Super Bowl 49!
News
See what Twitter had to say about the first half of the Super Bowl
News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

Dropout generation failed by colleges

£800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

Homeless Veterans appeal

Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch