By ESPNSTAR.com staff
It was another dreadful game for the Anfield faithful as Liverpool could not find a way past a young Villa side. Despite a bright start to the game, it was Villa who drew first blood through a Christian Benteke shot from outside the box which sneaked past Pepe Reina on his near post.
Liverpool were shaken, but still managed to create chances till just before the break when Benteke's clever back-heel found Andreas Weimann with only the goalkeeper to beat. Once again, poor goalkeeping allowed Weimann's shot on goal to find the back of the net.
After half time, Liverpool continued to press and were searching for a goal to get them back on track, but it was Villa who got the goal barely five minutes after the restart. Substitute Joe Cole was robbed of the ball in midfield and Benteke forced his way into the Liverpool penalty box, slotting home his second goal of the match.
A dejected Liverpool side refused to give up and still had a majority of the possession despite being three goals down and eventually got a consolation goal from a Steven Gerrard header, deflected from Glen Johnson's long ranged effort.
Pepe Reina - 4
Firstly, his starting position must have been poor to concede a goal from distance at his near post. Secondly, he could have done better to keep out Weimann's shot which crept under him.
Glen Johnson - 6
His strike from distance in the final minutes of the match gave Gerrard a chance to score a consolation goal for the home side. His rampaging runs up and down the right were also Liverpool's most effective source of attack.
Daniel Agger - 5.5
Liverpool were so desperate to score that the Dane had to repeatedly try his luck from distance. Looked better in the opposition penalty box than his own.
Stewart Downing - 5.5
There were no need for the boos from the Villa supporters as one of the most formidable left midfielders previously in the league was reduced to playing at left-back.
Martin Skrtel - 4
For some strange reason, his defensive partnership with Agger could not cope with the likes of Benteke and he was always second best when going for the aerial balls.
Steven Gerrard - 6
It was the Liverpool skipper who finally scored the home side's first goal but it looks like it is time for him to seriously consider hanging up his boots. If we could rewind the clock to maybe two to three seasons back, the result for this game would have been very different.
Lucas (61' off) - 5
A decent performance from the Brazilian, considering it is his first start after returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines. The faster he gets back to full fitness, the better it will be for Allen and Gerrard to work their magic further up the pitch instead of getting in each other's way.
Joe Allen - 4
Allen was a pushover in midfield and although he did cover for his fellow defenders when necessary, his physical presence on the pitch was insignificant.
Raheem Sterling - 3
All his running and dribbling went to waste as his decision making were simply awful. This is the first time we can use the term "lacking in maturity" to describe the youngster ever since he burst into the scene.
Jonjo Shelvey (46' off) - 5
Despite scoring the "winner" against West Ham last week, his performance this time round was simply dreadful to watch.
Luis Suarez - 6.5
Looked fresh after returning from suspension. Ran into space ever so well but at times had difficulty picking out a team-mate. Did everything right but needed lady luck to be on his side for once.
Joe Cole (46' on) - 5.5
His first notable contribution of the game was losing the ball to Benteke, who eventually scored the visitor's third goal.
Jordan Henderson (61' off) - 6
An above-average performance by his standards, but still did not have much of an impact on the match.
Brad Guzan - 7
Barely tested by the home side and when he was eventually called upon, he showed safe hands. There was nothing he could have done about Gerrard's close-range header though.
Ciaran Clark - 6
He was a lucky boy not to be penalised after a blatant shirt-tugging incident in the box with Agger.
Chris Herd - 7
The Australian who spent the most of his youth out on loan to different clubs is now a regular in the Aston Villa back four. Did not crack under pressure early on when Liverpool were dominant and was unfortunate not to be able to keep a clean sheet.
Nathan Baker - 6.5
His overall performance deserved a pat in the back as he repeatedly denied Shelvey and Suarez any clear opportunities at goal.
Brett Holman (70' off) - 7
Ashley Westwood - 7
The new Villa acquisition looked like he has been in the club for a long time with his telepathic passes to the rest of his team-mates. Watched the late runs from the Liverpool midfielders closely and kept his game simple.
Barry Bannan (86' off) - 7
It was weird to see him repeatedly try his luck from distance after they had a two-goal advantage. His crosses and deliveries from set pieces, however, were consistent throughout the game.
Eric Lichaj - 7
Everything went the American's way in this game. He was well positioned to intercept passes with ease and forced errors from the Liverpool players.
Matthew Lowton - 6.5
Defenders these days seem to have a manual on "how to deal with quick wingers" as he single-handedly reduced Sterling to zilch.
Andreas Weimann (92' off) - 8
His chip almost doubled Villa's lead after stealing the ball from Johnson. All his hard work and determined runs did not go unrewarded as he scored his team's second goal after Benteke's clever pass left him one-on-one with Reina.
Christian Benteke - 9
Just when the game looked like it was going to end up in a bore draw, his shot from outside the box gave the Villa fans something to cheer about in the 29th minute, beating Reina at his near post. The goal scorer turned provider just before the break when his classy back-heel set up Weimann for Villa's second.
Shortly after the restart, he steamrolled his way into the Liverpool penalty box and doubled his goal tally as well.
Fabian Delph (70' on) - 6.5
Injected pace to the Villa side, which bothered the already tired and demoralised Liverpool side.
Karim El Ahmadi (86' on)
Charles N'Zogbia (92' on)