Liverpool beats Aston Villa 1-0 in Premier League

Daniel Sturridge scored with a superb finish in the first half

Saturday to give Liverpool a 1-0 win over Aston Villa and maintain

the team’s strong start to the Premier League season.

Sturridge, who started his youth career with Villa, received the

ball at the edge of the area in the 21st minute, rounded goalkeeper

Brad Guzan and maintained his balance to poke the ball into the

roof of the net with two Villa defenders rushing back to block the

shot.

It was Sturridge’s second goal of the season and Liverpool’s

second clean sheet as Brendan Rodgers’ team has now started with

two straight 1-0 wins despite having star striker Luis Suarez

suspended.

”The manager’s philosophy is that we play well as a team and

that’s what we did,” Sturridge said. ”It’s nice to score, but

it’s more important we win. I am just playing my normal game. I

have matured a little bit in terms of confidence and playing

regularly. This is how I have been as a kid, but I’ve now been

given a chance to show what I can do in a first-team

environment.”

Villa, which beat Arsenal 3-1 in its opening game, fell to its

second straight defeat after a midweek loss to Chelsea.

Liverpool had to wait until the end of September before

recording a win last year, but is making its best start to a

Premier League season in five years. The Reds are second behind

Chelsea in the standings on goal difference.

?”It was a terrific win for us,” Liverpool manager Brendan

Rodgers said. ”We didn’t have a good start at all last year. Since

the turn of the year we’ve been getting better and better. What’s

important now is the mentality of the group is to win and win

together. We just have to keep it going.”

Villa looked out of pace in the first half but dominated in the

second period, creating several chances only to be denied by

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

The Belgian goalie, who saved a penalty against Stoke, again

proved solid late in the game when he parried Christian Benteke’s

powerful shot from the right side of the box with a spectacular

dive in the 86th minute.

”In the second half you expect more pressure from them but

overall Simon has made a couple of terrific saves and we got three

points,” Rodgers said.