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Liverpool maul Villa

2009-03-22 20:14

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.

AFP

Comments
  • DC - 2009-03-22 21:01

    M utd watch out i think tables are turning the premiership is now for liverpool.

  • sandile njovane - 2009-03-22 21:41

    liverpool are flying at the moment but we have to wait and see how they would respond to the defeat.they still have arsenal and chelsea to play until then the race is wide open.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-03-22 21:43

    I think Liverpool will claim it, the old woman "Manure" is now tired. Thanx to Liverpool, the noise is no more.

  • SergĂ© - 2009-03-23 07:41

    Great results for Liverpool this weekend with Man and Chelsea losing. We need to keep up our current form though. Let's leave Man and Chelsea and concentrate on our performance. Man now without 3 crucial players, Vidic who's been a pillar at the back and Rooney who's always a hard worker and who can turn a game around with one kick... I dont think they'll miss Scholes so much though he scores some crucial and much needed goals at times. This will certainly be an uphill battle for them, even though they are on top.

  • the kop (original) - 2009-03-23 08:03

    cracking performance by lfc, would of expected more goals,,,,,, trafford are you watching!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Nazeem - 2009-03-23 09:55

    The season is far from over ladies.... We are having a bit of a speed wobble but remember, to win the league you have to overhaul the champs and maintain the lead until the end.. We still have a game in hand remember??? Of all teams, Liverpool should know what its like to hit a slump, and I am more than confident that we will be back to winning ways soon! :-) Its going to be a real interesting end to the season chaps...

  • Anonymous User - 2009-03-23 10:05

    Where is all the Women united supporters now.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-03-23 10:09

    The chorus of Man U is about to fade 'coz The Reds are in a killing mood. Kop is the new chorus.Rafa & Stevie G here is the Champions League & the Premiership.We are on the roll

  • Carlsberg - 2009-03-23 10:30

    The pressure is on Man U, no doubt about it. And it's from pressure that mistakes are made and points are dropped... This is gonna be a fight to the end, what most people have forgotten though is how badly Liverpool want it! I believe it's that desire that is driving them to the score lines we're seeing lately, and this momentum could take them all the way.

  • Shanky's Kin - 2009-03-23 10:54

    When you walk through a storm Hold your head up high And don't be afraid of the dark At the end of the storm Is a golden sky And the sweet silver song of a lark Walk on through the wind Walk on through the rain Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown Walk on, walk on With hope in your heart And you'll never walk alone You'll never walk alone Methinks the Golden Sky at the end of the storm just might be a Premiership-Champs League Double!!! Well done Rafa and Co. Let's hope the international dont hurt any of the Pool spine players, and then pick up where we left off by slaughtering Fulham. To all associated with this Fine Establishment called L.F.C - Walk On!!! Walk On!!! PS: Where's the United bunch today?? They've normally got lots to say.

  • DeBomza - 2009-03-23 11:25

    It is one those days where you do everything and get the wrong results. Man Utd will definitely win the league, they will not lose anymore games and will Liverpool win all their remaining games, its debatable. Do the permutations you will see that Man Utd has an edge over Liverpool. Winning two league matches convincingly does not win the league.

  • masilo - 2009-03-23 11:45

    we r on a rough patch but we will bounce back.all man utd supporter do not lose hope cos the title is ours.....will c at the end of the race who r the real red devils

  • the kop (original) - 2009-03-23 12:55

    Ronaldo worlds best footballer?? it should be Ronaldo worlds best fall over!!!!!! Gerrard is the worlds best footballer at the moment period..........game in and game out he proves that. anyone wants to disagree???? hatrick hero go on son.........

  • Shankly's Kin - 2009-03-23 13:06

    Rough patch my @ss!!! We got you guys shook. Your defensive weaknesses have been exposed and now everyones' going to exploit it. Hope O'Neil starts Gabby Agbonlahor against you guys. His pace should help to penetrate that POSER backline of yours. You all can say what you want, but we have you looking over your shoulder, and you just about to piss your pants because a Red Tide is on the way. Yes, the title is yours to lose, with your game in hand, but we gonna push you all the way. Looks like the desire within our squad outweigh's United's ten fold,and is willing the guys on to do big things. And if this run continues, big things will definitely come our way.

  • Mark - 2009-03-23 15:14

    Manchester United players were asked who is the most famous person in the world they would invite to dinner - Unanimous response - Steven Gerrard ! If Fergie had one last wish before he died - what would it be - to be able to sign Stevie G to bolster Man U's dodgy midfield ! Ronaldo - you are a poser - your skills and talent wither in the presence of greatness - Stevie G , You'll never walk alone - walk on, walk on !! Any person with half a brain can see who is the worlds best player !

  • Anonymous User - 2009-03-23 15:21

    Rough patch my a%$,catching a hiding from Liverpool and now Fulham.i think you going through a rough patch

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