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Sturridge stars again in Villa defeat

24 Aug 2013 21:48:18

Sturridge stars again in Villa defeat

Daniel Sturridge proved Liverpool's match-winner for a second successive weekend as the Merseyside club edged out Aston Villa 1-0 to make their best start to a Premier League season for five years.

The Birmingham-born striker, who started his youth career with Villa, delivered a moment of pure quality midway through the first half, receiving Jose Enrique's left-wing pass before dancing past two defenders, rounding Brad Guzan and transferring his balance to poke home with his left foot.

It came after the England marksman fired the Reds to a 1-0 opening-day win over Stoke, leaving Brendan Rodgers' side with six points from their first two league games for the first time since 2008.

Liverpool finished second to Manchester United that season and Rodgers can only be delighted with the start his side have made without the suspended Luis Suarez.

For Villa, it was their third game in a tough opening eight days of the new season after victory at Arsenal and defeat at Chelsea, and they appeared off the pace in the opening 40 minutes against a sharper Reds side.

A late flurry at the end of the first half set the tone for a second period in which the hosts dominated and could well have taken a share of the spoils. Liverpool's new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who saved a late penalty against Stoke, denied the in-form Christian Benteke with a superb one-handed stop.

There was plenty of cause for optimism for a youthful Villa side who have already showed signs of development from the one which struggled against relegation last term, despite failing to keep a Premier League clean sheet for a club-record 25th match.

Villa manager Paul Lambert handed full debuts to summer signings Jores Okore and Leandro Bacuna, while Rodgers kept faith with the starting XI who saw off Stoke.

Both sides looked to feel each other out inside the opening 15 minutes, with the visitors showing the greater incision, although neither goalkeeper was forced into action.

Philippe Coutinho sent an effort high and wide after good work down the left by Enrique as the Reds started to dominate possession. And it was no surprise when they made the breakthrough after 21 minutes.


PA

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