Premier League - Liverpool ease past awful Villa

Sun, 18 Dec 15:58:00 2011

Early goals from Craig Bellamy and Martin Skrtel gave Liverpool a 2-0 Premier League win against Aston Villa at Villa Park.

Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 2

Liverpool bossed the game, and took advantage of a pair of set-pieces inside the first 15 minutes to put away a poor Villa side.

Bellamy tucked away a rebound from a corner, before Skrtel headed in another corner just before the quarter-hour mark.

The effervescent Luis Suarez hit the woodwork twice, while Jonjo Shelvey impressed on his first start for the club following a successful loan spell at Blackpool.

Aston Villa were without their two leading attackers, Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor, meaning Nathan Delfouneso and Marc Albrighton started.

Alex McLeish's sides have built their reputation on solidity and defensive organisation, but that was in scant evidence as they conceded two poor set-piece goals.

The first came from a Charlie Adam corner on the Liverpool right. Shelvey flicked the ball goalwards, Suarez had a close-range effort blocked and Bellamy tucked the rebound away.

Four minutes later, a corner from the opposite flank undid Villa. Bellamy whipped the ball in, Skrtel met it at the near post and glanced the ball into the top-right corner. So simple, so poor from the home team.

Thereafter Villa improved, but had already dug themselves a deep hole.

Emile Heskey headed straight at Pepe Reina when he had the goal at his mercy - typical of a wholehearted but technically inadequate performance.

Charles N'Zogbia shot into the side netting, though would have had a better sight of goal if not for a poor first touch. Delfouneso then headed over from an Albrighton free-kick - a chance Bent may well have snaffled.

Liverpool started the second half in a blur of attacking play. First Dan Agger galloped forward from the back and headed wide, then Suarez made his presence felt.

The Uruguayan robbed Richard Dunne, jinked past James Collins and smashed his shot against the underside of the bar.

Suarez was at it again just before the hour mark. After controlling a Stewart Downing pass with his hand, he lifted a glorious chip over Brad Guzan, only to see the ball come back off the far post.

It was the 19th time Suarez has hit the woodwork in 42 matches for Liverpool. He has scored 12 goals.

Adam and Glen Johnson both went close for Liverpool, but their failure to convert meant little, so abject was Villa's failure to create any chances of note.

The Villans may go into the Christmas period in the top half of the table, but there will be little festive cheer at the club following this non-performance.

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