Liverpool rallies to draw 2-2 with Aston Villa
LIVERPOOL, England (AP)
Liverpool came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Aston Villa at Anfield on Saturday in the English Premier League.
Gabriel Agbonlahor should have given the visitors the lead inside the opening sixty seconds. The striker raced clear after Christian Benteke flicked on, but he poked the ball wide of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet's left-hand post.
The visitors continued to press forward in search of the game's opening goal and were almost rewarded in the 16th minute. After Steven Gerrard gave the ball away in midfield, a quick interchange involving Benteke and Fabian Delph saw the ball eventually find its way to Andreas Weimann on the edge of the penalty box. However, the Austria international shot straight at Mignolet.
Ciaran Clark headed the ball onto the post in the 23rd minute following a corner before Villa's dominance paid off. Agbonlahor chased a ball down the left side before rolling it into the box, where Weimann was left with the simplest of finishes.
A rejuvenated Benteke added a second for Villa in the 36th, a week after scoring his first goal in almost 15 hours against Arsenal. Agbonlahor again turned provider, with his cross from the right being headed in by the Belgian after Mignolet failed to connect with the ball.
Daniel Sturridge halved the deficit in first-half stoppage time having been restored to the starting lineup. The forward who returned to action after a seven-week injury layoff with a goal in the 5-3 win at Stoke last week, took his tally for the season to 11. He chipped over the onrushing Brad Guzan after Jordan Henderson's deft flick found its way into the striker's path, deep inside the penalty area.
The equalizer came in the 53rd when Steven Gerrard converted from the penalty spot after Guzan was felled Luis Suarez.
Suarez almost won the game for Liverpool in second-half stoppage time but his attempt was palmed away by Guzan after he carved out some space in the penalty area.
The draw consolidated fourth place for Liverpool as it chases a top-four finish, with Villa in 10th place.