Villa stuns Liverpool with 3-1 win at Anfield

Aston Villa brought Liverpool’s recent resurgence in the English
Premier League to a crashing end by winning 3-1 at Anfield on
Saturday, with Christian Benteke capping a powerful display with
goals in each half.

The strapping Belgium international, who is starting to make a
name for himself following his summer move from Genk, also set up
fellow striker Andreas Weimann with an outrageous backheel for the
other goal that made it 2-0 at halftime.

Steven Gerrard grabbed a late consolation for Liverpool but the
result made a mockery of manager Brendan Rodgers’ pre-match
assertion that his team could challenge for a top-two finish this
season.

”It’s a disappointing result and performance from us,” Rodgers
said. ”I don’t know where that came from as it’s not been like us.
We were careless with our final ball and didn’t end up taking our
chances.”

Liverpool, which had been looking for a third straight win for
the first time in two seasons, dropped back into the bottom half of
the table – four points above Villa – and showed it is still a work
in progress under Rodgers.

With Luis Suarez back from a one-match ban, Liverpool was
expected to have too much for Villa but Benteke had other
ideas.

The forward put Villa in front by shooting low past goalkeeper
Pepe Reina from outside the area in the 29th minute, before showing
his deft side by playing an impudent return ball to Weimann, who
swept home a finish into the corner in the 40th.

Worse was to come for Liverpool six minutes after halftime when
substitute Joe Cole was dispossessed and Benteke picked up the
loose ball, charged goalward from 40 yards out and held Joe Allen’s
weak challenge to curl home a fine finish.

”I thought we were excellent,” Villa manager Paul Lambert
said. ”The goals were brilliant – the second goal, with the
movement and the backheel, especially.

”Benteke has been unbelievable.”

Villa is unbeaten in six games over the past month and moved
into the semifinals of the League Cup on Tuesday by winning 4-1 at
Norwich, which hasn’t lost in the league in its past 10 matches.
The win over Liverpool moved up Villa three places to 14th.