Gerrard helps Liverpool in 5-0 rout of Aston Villa

23 March 2009 01:32

LIVERPOOL (AFP) - 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.


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.









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Sort comments by:Most recentno. 23 why give the FA to Chelski. i reckon Man Utd won­ three in 1999 and now aiming at five. didnt the­ scousers participate

From Tema, on Mon 23 Mar 9:17AM0


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wat with a hat trick of dubious penalties. sorry­ scousers wait for 50 years like Chelski to win the­ trophy

From Tema, on Mon 23 Mar 9:11AM1


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scum bag gerrard

From nicky, on Mon 23 Mar 8:02AM1


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"It's a funny old game"Liverpool will­ play better and lose, Villa will play worse and win.

From amd_uk, on Mon 23 Mar 6:11AM0


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Well it looks like Liverpool are coming into form at­­­ just the right time. While Man U are throwing it­ away.­­ It looks like the manc's are under real­ pressure­­ now, they would love to match are record so­ much so­­ that they are losing their bottle.Liverpool­ to take­­ the League for the 20th time and add the­ bonus of the­­ Champions League. Chelsea to take FA­ Cup!!!!!

From ivanboden, on Mon 23 Mar 3:15AM0


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red card for friedel?? F*CK OFF!useless wanking­ atkinson.

From convilla, on Mon 23 Mar 2:25AM2


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fergie is shitin himself now :D

From natashaobrien41, on Sun 22 Mar 8:02PM4


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Id still back UNITED all the way dudes,been there,seen­ it done it,and got the t-shirt

From lindathomas181, on Sun 22 Mar 7:55PM3


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thier behind you.

From kenny, on Sun 22 Mar 7:18PM1


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dplinston.ITS YOU!!!!!

From d.makin, on Sun 22 Mar 7:13PM0


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From dplinston, on Sun 22 Mar 7:12PM3


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Hello Fergie we are coming to get you old­ man

From rc_alcock, on Sun 22 Mar 7:12PM5


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Comment hidden due to its low rating. Show

man utd will still win league, very disappointed villa­ fan.

From dodger, on Sun 22 Mar 7:11PM3


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Wide open!?!!?

From Winston Bunn, on Sun 22 Mar 7:05PM3


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Come on Liverpool keep the pressure up don't let­ up, Man united are looking very nervously over their­ shoulders nowmmmm

From jeffreyray, on Sun 22 Mar 7:00PM5


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Have to hand it to Liverpool, they are playing superb­ football at the moment.

Our defense cost us today.­ Well, I say defence, a useless right back, a right back­ playing at left back and 1 good central­ defender.

Sadly we're missing Laursen and Bouma :(

From Steve, on Sun 22 Mar 6:55PM7


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I personally think that Gerrard and Torres were a bit­ below-par today. Especially Torres. But the scoreline­ says it all.5-0.YNWA.

From Kareem G, on Sun 22 Mar 6:52PM5


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well done liverpool, great game, football was great to­ watch to. from a happy gunner.

From blue eyes, on Sun 22 Mar 6:50PM7


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something smells like sh@t on here.ooooh its­ Manchester United!!!! Ha Ha

From dplinston, on Sun 22 Mar 6:49PM8


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From rmsj.white, on Sun 22 Mar 6:45PM0


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