English Premiership

Liverpool maul Villa

2009-03-22 20:14
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard

Liverpool - Liverpool moved within one point of Premier League leaders Manchester United after Steven Gerrard's hat-trick inspired a 5-0 rout of 10-man Aston Villa on Sunday.

United still have a game in hand but, having won 4-1 at Old Trafford last week, the Reds now have a better goal difference by two with eight games left.

Dirk Kuyt started the goal-spree with seven minutes gone and Albert Riera doubled the lead just after the half hour at Anfield.

England midfielder Gerrard added a third from the spot just before the interval and scored a fourth with a free-kick just after the restart.

The Liverpool captain scored a second penalty after goalkeeper Brad Friedel was sent off for a challenge on Fernando Torres as Villa's winless run stretched to eight games.

Fifth-placed Villa remain three points behind Arsenal and a place in the top four is now looking beyond them.

Liverpool began with real purpose and from Fabio Aurelio's corner, Friedel was forced to save from Martin Skrtel's header with just a minute on the clock.

After Villa's James Milner had a shot deflected wide, Liverpool took the lead with just seven minutes gone following Nigel Reo-Coker foul on Riera down the left flank.

Gerrard drove the ball into the area and Xabi Alonso's header came back off the bar but Kuyt made no mistake with a powerful follow-up from six yards for his tenth goal of the season.

With Gabriel Agbonlahor left on the bench, Villa had a strong spell and Pepe Reina pulled off an impressive stop from John Carew's flick from Ashley Young's cross from the left.

Midway through the opening period, another glancing header from Carew, this time from Reo-Coker's lofted free-kick, was pushed away by Reina before Young hit the side-netting.

But just as Villa were looking threatening, Liverpool doubled their lead.

Gareth Barry's curling free-kick was easily held by Reina and his long clearance bounced over the Villa defence before Riera hit a half-volley with his left foot that flew in off the bar.

Five minutes before the interval, Kuyt's cross-field pass picked out Riera and the Spanish winger was tripped in the area by Reo-Coker and Gerrard sent Friedel the wrong way with his penalty to make it three.

Half-time brought only a little respite for Villa and five minutes after the restart they were four goals behind.

Carlos Cuellar chopped Kuyt down on the edge of the area and Alonso took the free-kick short for Gerrard to place the ball into the corner of Friedel's goal.

As they looked for a response, James Milner's drilled cross was headed straight at Reina by Emile Heskey.

But Liverpool were still not satisfied and after Alonso picked out Kuyt, he received the return ball on the edge of the box only to stab wide.

In the 65th minute, Alonso sent Torres clean through and after the Spaniard knocked the ball on, he collided with Friedel.

Referee Martin Atkinson gave a penalty and showed Friedel the red card. Gerrard stepped up to send Friedel's replacement Brad Guzan the wrong way from the spot to complete his hat-trick.

Lucas missed from Riera's cross as the Reds searched for a sixth goal and Torres was frustrated in his attempts to score.

But Liverpool were happy to play out time in the knowledge that the title race is now wide open.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

20 April 2014
Norwich City v Liverpool, Carrow Road 13:00
Hull City v Arsenal, The KC Stadium 15:05
Everton v Manchester United, Goodison Park 17:10
21 April 2014
Manchester City v West Bromwich Albion, Etihad Stadium 21:00
26 April 2014
Southampton v Everton, St. Mary's Stadium 13:45
Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Fulham v Hull City, Craven Cottage 16:00
Swansea City v Aston Villa, Liberty Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United, The Hawthorns 16:00
Manchester United v Norwich City, Old Trafford 18:30
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Which team do you think will win the English Premiership?

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.