Liverpool eased the pressure on manager Brendan Rodgers as they held on for a 3-2 win over Aston Villa at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
- Liverpool 3 Aston Villa 2
- Milner finds early opener
- Sturridge bags a brace
- Gestede also at the double
- Pressure eased on Rodgers
James Milner had the Reds ahead after just 66 seconds with a great effort from the edge of the box, before Daniel Sturridge doubled the advantage shortly after the break.
The two sides traded goals in a remarkable two minutes just after the hour mark, Rudy Gestede scoring on either side of Sturridge's well-taken second goal.
Liverpool had several clear chances to pull further ahead late on but were able to make them count as they held on for a much-needed win at home.
The Reds could not have hoped to get off to a better start after Milner bagged his first Liverpool goal after just one minute, firing into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
However, Liverpool enjoyed much of the chances in the opening half, but were plagued by familiar problems as they struggled to find a second.
Villa, though, were not without chances of their own, Gestede fiding joy against Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho, even if he failed to find the right final touch.
It was a similar story after the break as the Reds created chance after chance against a very deep Villa defence.
And they netted a second goal in a game for the first time in 11 games as Sturridge scored his first goal in five months with a deft outside-of-the-boot finish after Milner had lifted the ball over the defence.
Villa, though, pulled one back on 66 minutes as Gestede scrambled one home after being picked out unmarked in the box by Alan Hutton.
Their resurgance was shortlived, though, as Sturridge netted his second with a clinical curled finish after a delightful one-two with Philippe Coutinho just one minute later.
Gestede was not finished, however, as he once again handed Villa a way back into the match, heading home well from a Jordan Amavi cross.
Liverpool had two wonderful chances to score, Danny Ings and Sturridge having efforts blocked after pouncing on defensive errors.
Sturridge really should have had a third on 85 minutes, only to see his low-curved effort magnificently saved by Brad Guzan.