Aston Villa v Liverpool – as it happened

A sublime individual effort from Daniel Sturridge was the difference between the sides at Villa Park

Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeeep! It's all over. For the second time in two weekends, Liverpool have won 1-0, courtesy of a Daniel Sturridge winner and late heroics from their goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. They were impressive again this afternoon, although they almost let Villa off the hook after a first half of total dominance. That's all from me this evening - thanks for your time and your emails and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

90+2 min: I'd say one of the main reasons Clattenberg didn't award a penalty in that instance was because Daniel Sturridge didn't appeal for one or create any sort of fuss when he wasn't given one. He must be exhausted if he hasn't the energy to stick his arm up.

90 min: Brad Guzan rushes off his line in a race to a through-ball with Daniel Sturridge. Without touching the ball, he brings the striker down on the right hand side of the penalty area and Liverpool's travelling fans appeal for a penalty. Mark Clattenberg doesn't award one, but replays suggest he should have.

89 min: Villa win a free-kick about 35 yards out from the Liverpool goal, well right of centre. With players waiting for his delivery in the penalty area, Aleksandar Tonev goes for goal. His effort has the legs, but sails well wide.

88 min: Jordan Henderson sends the ball across the face of the Villa penalty area, where Joe Allen attempts to head it goalwards. Leandro Bacuna heads clear and Villa go forward again. 

85 min: Mignolet saves Liverpool's bacon with an excellent save at his near post. Helenius had used his height to chest a high ball into the path of Benteke, who wrapped his foot around the bouncing ball from about eight yards out. Mignolet dived to his left and got a strong hand on the ball to keep it out. Another great opportunity to equalise spurned by Villa. 

84 min: Nicklas Helenius is a big fella - he stands 6ft 5in in his socks. He's a Danish striker who's played twice for his country.

83 min: Aston Villa substitution: Ashley Westwood off, Nicklas Helenius on. Liverpool substitution: Philippe Coutinho off, Joe Allen on for his first appearance since suffering a shoulder injury in March

81 min: Villa continue to press Liverpool. Paul Lambert's side are virtually unrecognisable from the cowed rabble that surrendered so meekly for much of the first half.

79 min: A rogue, bouncing back-pass gets Mignolet in a dither and the Liverpool goalkeeper is forced to concede a corner under pressure from Benteke. As the ball sails into the penalty area from the foot of Ashley Westwood, a huge shout goes up for a penalty as Benteke goes to ground under a challenge from Kolo Toure. No spot-kick is forthcoming.

78 min: Tonev shows what he can do, bringing a smart save out of Simon Mignolet with a powerful long-range effort.

77 min: "Sunderland scored from a corner today, too," reports Andrew Parrington, adding his two cents to the fascinating Does Anyone Ever Score From Corners Anymore? debate.

77 min: A stumble from Lucas allows Tonev to gallop down the right touchline with the ball at his feet. Steven Gerrard intervenes and retrieves possession for Liverpool with a meaty challenge.

74 min: Patient build-up play from Villa allows them to send a long ball into the Liverpool penalty area, where Christian Benteke beats Toure in the air again and knocks the ball down to Gabriel Agbonlahor. From about 12 yards out with plenty of goal to aim at, the Villa striker shoots a couple of feet wide of the upright. That was a great chance, arguably Villa's best of the game. Agbonlahor turns away, holding his head in his hands.

72 min: Aston Villa substitution: Andreas Weimann off, Aleksandar Tonev on. He's a Bulgarian international winger with a powerful shot off either foot, in case you're wondering.

71 min: Andreas Weimann skims a header from distance well wide. Even if his effort had it been on target, it didn't look powerful enough to trouble Simon Mignolet.

70 min: Ashley Westwood takes the corner and aims for Christian Benteke. The big man gets the jump on Kolo Toure and heads the ball over the bar.

69 min: Agbonlahor feeds Luna down the left flank and the left-back sends a dangerous looking cross into the Liverpool penalty area. Steven Gerrard charges back from midfield and hammers the ball out for a corner.

67 min: Liverpool substitution: Aly Cissokho comes on for his Liverpool debut. He's a pacey left winger on loan from Valencia. Iago Aspa makes way. He's worked hard and showed a few nice touches, but been fairly quiet.

66 min: Aston Villa substitution: Matt Lowton off, Karim El Hamedi on - a defensive midfielder for a full-back.

63 min: Aston Villa manage to string a decent sequence of passes together for what seems like the first time in the game, but are eventually undone by a robust challenge from Glen Johnson, who concedes the throw-in.

61 min: Matthew Lowton gets booked, which means both Villa full-backs are now on yellow cards. From the ensuing free-kick, the ball bounces up for Glen Johnson on the right-hand side of the Villa penalty area. He shoots ridiculously wide from a tight angle, when he should have tried to pick out one two team-mates waiting in the penalty area and screaming for a cross.

60 min: I'm not sure what the tea-lady put in the half time cuppas of the Villa team, but it seems to be working. They've worked their way back into this match and are visibly growing iun confidence. On the touchline, their manager exhorts his players and the fans with a series of vigorous waves.

58 min: Villa's fans are in fine voice as they try to rally the troops, but are eventually drowned out by a chorus of "We love you Liverpool, we do!" from the visiting supporters. For Villa, Ashley Westwood picks up the ball on the edge of the Liverpool penalty area and unleashes a shot. His effort fizzes over the crossbar of Simon Mignolet's goal.

57 min: "Does anyone actually score from corners any more?" asks Phil Sawyer. "I just can't remember the last time I saw it, is all." I can confirm that Fulham score from corners, Phil. At least they did last weekend, when they beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

56 min: Bacuna takes the free-kick, but it's a poor effort. The ball slams straight into the Liverpool defensive wall and is cleared.

55 min: Vill win a free-kick, about 30 metres from the Liverpool goal well right of centre. Leandro Bacuna and Faban Delph stand over the ball.

54 min: Daniel Agger requires medical assistance after clattering into Brad Guzan as the pair contested a high ball into the Aston Villa penalty area. It's nothing serious - he'll live.

52 min: More good play from Sturridge, who switches on his afterburners to skin Luna on the inside right flank and drive in a low cross towards Jordan Henderson. Villa clear.


50 min: Deep inside his own half, Jores Okore finds himself isolated and forced to hack the ball down the field under immense pressure from Daniel Sturridge,

49 min: I didn't see who took that throw-in for Villa, deep in Liverpool territory, but it was a foul. Paul Lambert will be furious with that.

47 min: Andreas Weimann dinks a beautifully weighted through ball in behind the Liverpool defence for Lowton to chase, as Jose Enrique backpedals furiously. The defender blocks the attempted cross and the ball goes out for a throw-in.


Second half: Liverpool get the second half party started as both managers return to their respective dug-outs. Brendan Rodgers will be the happier of the pair; his side has been impressive in the face of Aston Villa's torpor.

That Sturridge goal: Jamie Redknapp reckons it was "delicious" and looking at it again in slo-mo, it's difficult to disagree with him. Having given his marker the slip, Sturridge picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area, turned Antonio Luna inside-out, then somehow shimmied his way around Brad Guzan and fired the ball high into the roof of the net in order to avoid two defenders who'd rushed back to man the line.

Yellow card update: In all the excitment, I neglected to mention that Glen Johnson was booked towards the end of the first half, for a fouling Christian Benteke as the Villa striker attempted to hold the ball up.

Half-time: That's it for the first half. Liverpool go off with a well deserved one-goal lead, courtesy of Daniel Sturridges nimble footwork and splendid finish. Villa have been poor this evening, but can take some encouragement from their late rally in the closing minutes of the first half.

45 min: Liverpool win a corner, which Steven Gerrard takes. His out-swinger drops kindly for Luna, whose clearance goes straight to a Lucas, who plays the ball through the Villa defence for Gerrard to chase. Offside. 


43 min: A bouncing ball in the box has Liverpool's defenders rattled. Kolo Toure tries unsuccessfully to clear it and the ball breaks kindly for Andreas Weimann. He shoots, but his rising effort is deflected over the bar. Another corner from Villa, from which nothing comes. 

41 min: Villa win the first corner of the game, which Ashley Westwood swings in from the left. The ball breaks to Benteke at the edge of the penalrty area and he makes room for a shot and unleashes a fine surface-to-air drive. Simon Mignolet flings himself to his left to beat the ball away. Good effort and a great save - Aston Villa have finally been electro-shocked into life.


38 min: Liverpool pass the ball around with the ease of a team playing against 11 training cones: Enrique ... Gerrard ... Johnson ... Agger ... Sturridge ... Johnson ... Lucas ... Toure ... Gerrard ... Lucas ... Sturri ... CLATTER! Fabian Delph gets booked for showing some initiative by trying to win the ball back for his team, albeit by hurtlingh into the back of Daniel Sturridge.

36 min: A leaden-footed touch from Weimann puts the ball out of play deep in Liverpool territory, surrendering possession to the visitors in the form of a throw-in. The camera cuts to Villa manager Paul Lambert, who doesn't look best pleased.

34 min: A shot! Aston Villa have finally had a shot. It wasn't a very good one, but it was a shot nonetheless. Bacuna tries his luck with a long-range effort, but drags it well wide of the Liverpool goal.

33 min: Coutinho plays the ball into space in the Aston Villa left-back area, for Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge to chase. With Antonio Luna apparently AWOL, it's left to goalkeeper Brad Guzan to charge off his line and avert the danger. Liverpool are bossing this game.

30 min: Liverpool winger Iago Aspas gets booked for clattering into Fabian Delph from behind. The Villa midfielder gets to his feet immediately and jogs away from the scene of the crime without the slightest bit of fuss.

28 min: I've just seen a replay of the Liverpool goal and on Sky Sports, Alan Smith is pointing his big finger of blame at Jores Okore, who allowed himself be dragged out of position by Sturridge in the phase of play before Enrique crossed the ball, then let Sturridge sprint unaccompanied to the edge of the penalty area to pick up the pass from his full-back. Take nothing away from Sturridge, however - it was a fine individual goal.

26 min: Liverpool continue to dictate the pace of the game, pinging the ball around the back and in midfield as Villa's players struggle to close them down. After what seems like an age without anyone in a Villa shirt getting a touch of the ball, Fabian Delph finally wins it back and plays it up the left towards Agbonlahor, who promptly gives it away again.

25 min: Liverpool deserve their lead. They're playing very well, have settled better than Villa and look like the home team. Antonio Luna, left-back on the actual home team has just been booked for what I think was a foul on Jordan Henderson.

21 min: That was a beauty from Sturridge, who showed splendid footwork and balance in a very tight area. Picking up a Jose Enrique pass from the left on the edge of the penalty area, he performed a nimble soft-shoe shuffle to take the ball around two defenders and goalkeeper Brad Guzan before rifling the ball into the roof of the net from a tight angle. That's a marvellous individual goal.


GOAL! Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool (Sturridge 20) Daniel Sturridge puts Liverpool ahead with a marvellous individual goal.

16 min: Liverpool advance into the Villa half, with Steven Gerrard driving the ball forward towards Daniel Sturridge. Assorted Liverpool players ping the ball around looking comfortable in possession until a loose pass down the inside right from Steven Gerrard gifts possession to Antonio Luna. Villa were chasing shadows for a while there.

13 min: Fabian Delph plays the ball to Ron Vlaar who pings it towards Jores Okore, as Villa play the ball out from the back as Villa try to settle into this game. They're second best at the moment, but not doing too badly. 

11 min: Jordan Henderson tries to tee up Sturridge once again, but his attempt to thread the ball between two Villa defenders goes awry and Ron Vlaar knocks the ball back to his goalkeeper, who clears.

9 min: Jose Enrique picks out Daniel Sturridge with a wonderful raking cross-field pass to the right-hand side of the Villa penalty area. Sturridge knocks the ball down to Jordan Henderson, who plays it straight back to the striker. A poor touch from Sturridge allows left-back Antonio Luna to tidy up at the back for Villa.


8 min: Agbonlahor shows great industriousness to track back and rob Glen Johnson of possession in a dangerous area a couple of yards outside the Villa penalty area.

6 min: It's been a lively opening five minutes, which bodes well for the rest of the game. "Liverpool have been more patient in the build-up, as opposed to Aston Villa, who like to get the ball forward more quickly," says former Arsenal striker Alan Smith, who is sitting alongside Rob Hawthorne in the Sky Sports commentary box.

4 min: Andreas Weimann plays the ball into space down by the corner flag, for Christian Benteke to chase. The Belgian striker holds the ball up well under pressure from Kolo Toure, then plays it to Gabby Agbonlahor, who'd arrived at the edge of the penalty area in support. Agbonlahor tries a shot from distance, which takes a deflection and loops into the waiting arms of Simon Mignolet.

3 min: Liverpool have started brightly and create the first chance of sorts. Iago Aspas skitters down the right flank and tries to cross the ball towards the near post, where Daniel Sturridge had made a run. Aston Villa goalkeeper intercepts and clutches the ball to his chest.

2 min: Simon Mignolet gets and early touch, hoofing a back-pass down the pitch under pressure from the on-rushing Christian Benteke.

1 min: Aston Villa kick off, playing from left to right as the camera looks at the pitch. They're wearing their usual home kit, while Liverpool's players wear white shirts, black shorts and white socks. It seems a fairly pleasant, dry and balmy evening at Villa Park.

Not long now ...

The teams have lined up in the tunnel, with both sets of players wearing tracksuit tops over their shirts. Referee Mark Clattenberg leads them out on to the Villa Park sward, where the match-ball is waiting on a bespoke Premier League plinth. A plinth! Did we ever think we'd see the day?


Liverpool fan Bevan Jones writes

"Do you think Brendan Rogers has lost weight?" he asks. "I think he has, probably through management training. As for the odds; I think Villa will give us a game and this won't be a walkover. Potentially this has the makings of a goal fest, no? I think Villa will always concede and so Liverpool will ... um ... concede. And with both managers committed to attacking football this could be fairly entertaining." An attriitional 0-0 it is, then.

An email from Ian Copestake ...

"Poor Sebastian Coates is out for the entire season as he tore his cruciate ligament," he says. "Can neither play nor be sold."

Paul Lambert speaks ...

In an interview on Sky Sports, the Aston Villa manager says his young team have played very well in their opening two matches of the season and puts their success down to confidence. "They know how they want to play," he says.

Aston Villa v Liverpool line-ups ...

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Okore, Luna, Bacuna, Westwood, Delph, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor.

Subs: Clark, El Ahmadi, Helenius, Steer, Herd, Sylla, Tonev.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Toure, Agger, Jose Enrique, Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, Aspas, Coutinho, Sturridge.

Subs: Cissokho, Brad Jones, Alberto, Allen, Borini, Sterling, Wisdom.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

Team news ...

Liverpool line up as they did against Stoke, while Aston Villa make two changes from the eleven who started against Chelsea. Jores Okore comes in for Ciaran Clark in the heart of defence, while Landro Bacuna takes over from Karim El Hamidi in midfield. 


Pre-match words ...

Liverpool travel to Villa Park unbeaten in their last nine Premier League matches, but will be wary of the threat posed by Aston Villa's in-form striker Christian Benteke, who has already scored three goals in his side's two matches this season and will be confident of adding to the three he bagged against the Merseyside outfit in two Premier League meetings last season.

"There's no doubt Benteke is the reference point for the team - the ball goes up to him and he holds it up well," said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers earlier this week. "He's a big, powerful boy. [Villa] are very much a counterattacking team that set up to defend half a pitch and then break out with the pace of Benteke, [Gabriel] Agbonlahor in particular and young Andreas Weimann on the side but our focus is really on our own game."

Liverpool are missing defender Sebastian Coates, who is out wiuth a knee injury, while Luis Suarez must sit out another five matches on the naughty step. For Villa, midfielder Charles N'Zogbia remains sidelined with an achilles injury, while midfielder Chris Herd and defenders Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker may also miss out.

It was honours even in the two Premier League encounters between these sides last season, with Liverpool losing 3-1 at Anfield in December, before exacting revenge with a 2-1 win at Villa Park at the end of March.

Good afternoon everybody ...

Welcome to our minute-by-minute coverage of this afternoon's set-to between Aston Villa and Liverpool, two sides who have played three matches between them in the Premier League thus far and looked fairly impressive, which bodes well for this evening's fixture.

Despite beating Arsenal last Saturday and looking impressive in slightly unlucky defeat against Chelsea during the week, Aston Villa go into this evening's match as outsiders and can be backed at odds of 7-2, which seems a mite generous. Seasoned punters will know that Liverpool are almost always under-priced, regardless of their opposition, a state of affairs that can be attributed to hundreds of thousands of Asian gamblers constantly over-estimating how good they are and lumping on them to win every match they play. They may well win this evening, but are poor value at 10-11.

Anyway, enough Number Wang, you can click on this blue link to look at the squad sheets for the game.


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