skip to content
The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by James Collins.
Marc Albrighton crosses the ball.
The ball is swung over by Stewart Downing.
Unfair challenge on John Flanagan by Gabriel Agbonlahor results in a free kick. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
Michael Bradley is brought on as a substitute for Ashley Young.
Luis Suarez takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Raul Meireles by Ashley Young. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
Ashley Young takes a short corner.
Ashley Young takes a shot. Martin Skrtel gets a block in.
Inswinging corner taken by Ashley Young.
The ball is crossed by Gabriel Agbonlahor, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance.
Luis Suarez takes a shot. Luke Young gets a block in.
Dirk Kuyt fouled by Kyle Walker, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Fabio Aurelio.
Stiliyan Petrov takes a shot. Jose Reina makes a save.
Jamie Carragher fouled by Darren Bent, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
Marc Albrighton crosses the ball, save by Jose Reina.
Effort from deep inside the area by Darren Bent misses to the left of the goal.
The ball is sent over by Raul Meireles, Effort on goal by Luis Suarez from just inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Richard Dunne by David Ngog. Richard Dunne takes the free kick.
Shot by Darren Bent. Save made by Jose Reina.
Luis Suarez produces a cross, James Collins makes a clearance.
Centre by Luis Suarez, James Collins makes a clearance.
Jonjo Shelvey fouled by James Collins, the ref awards a free kick. Fabio Aurelio has an effort direct from the free kick.
The ball is crossed by Martin Skrtel, clearance made by Kyle Walker.
Outswinging corner taken by Raul Meireles from the right by-line, clearance by Richard Dunne.
Fabio Aurelio takes a outswinging corner to the near post, Richard Dunne makes a clearance.
Outswinging corner taken by Raul Meireles, clearance by Richard Dunne.
Nigel Reo-Coker goes off and Gabriel Agbonlahor comes on.
David Ngog replaces Joe Cole.
Unfair challenge on Martin Skrtel by Kyle Walker results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jose Reina.
James Collins has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.
Joe Cole concedes a free kick for a foul on Kyle Walker. The referee cautions Joe Cole for dissent. Direct free kick taken by Ashley Young.
The offside flag is raised against Luis Suarez. Free kick taken by Richard Dunne.
Luis Suarez concedes a free kick for a foul on Kyle Walker. Direct free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
Raul Meireles takes a shot. Brilliant save by Brad Friedel.
The offside flag is raised against Darren Bent. Free kick taken by Martin Skrtel.
Stewart Downing produces a cross, Jamie Carragher manages to make a clearance.
Luis Suarez fouled by Kyle Walker, the ref awards a free kick. Kyle Walker is cautioned. Raul Meireles takes the free kick.
Ashley Young sends in a cross, clearance by Raul Meireles.
Stewart Downing delivers the ball, clearance by Jamie Carragher.
Unfair challenge on Stewart Downing by Raul Meireles results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Ashley Young.
Effort on goal by Joe Cole from just inside the area clears the crossbar.
Centre by Darren Bent, Raul Meireles makes a clearance.
Luis Suarez produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target.
Luis Suarez sends in a cross.
Outswinging corner taken by Ashley Young from the right by-line.
Marc Albrighton fouled by Fabio Aurelio, the ref awards a free kick. James Collins takes the free kick.
Raul Meireles produces a cross, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
Stiliyan Petrov fouled by Leiva Lucas, the ref awards a free kick. James Collins takes the free kick.
The official flags Luis Suarez offside. Richard Dunne restarts play with the free kick.
Nigel Reo-Coker fouled by Dirk Kuyt, the ref awards a free kick. James Collins takes the free kick.
Raul Meireles concedes a free kick for a foul on Stiliyan Petrov. Raul Meireles is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour. Richard Dunne takes the direct free kick.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Nigel Reo-Coker on Leiva Lucas. Direct free kick taken by Leiva Lucas.
Luke Young challenges Dirk Kuyt unfairly and gives away a free kick. Fabio Aurelio takes the direct free kick.
The ball is crossed by Kyle Walker, Stewart Downing scores a goal from close range to the top left corner of the goal. Aston Villa 1-0 Liverpool.Marc Albrighton provided the assist for the goal.
Kyle Walker fouled by Fabio Aurelio, the ref awards a free kick. Brad Friedel takes the free kick.
The referee blows for offside against Darren Bent. Marc Albrighton replaces Fabian Delph. Indirect free kick taken by Jose Reina.
The ball is swung over by Kyle Walker, clearance made by Martin Skrtel.
James Collins takes a shot. Jamie Carragher gets a block in.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jonjo Shelvey on Fabian Delph. Stewart Downing restarts play with the free kick.
Corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing.
Stiliyan Petrov takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Jamie Carragher gets a block in.
Kyle Walker sends in a cross, Martin Skrtel gets a block in.
Shot by Stiliyan Petrov from 18 yards. Save made by Jose Reina.
Raul Meireles takes a shot. Richard Dunne gets a block in.
Shot from 35 yards by Jonjo Shelvey went wide of the right-hand upright.
Raul Meireles takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, James Collins makes a clearance.
The ball is sent over by Luis Suarez, clearance by Kyle Walker.
Leiva Lucas gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Darren Bent. Direct free kick taken by Kyle Walker.
Inswinging corner taken by Raul Meireles, Richard Dunne manages to make a clearance.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Dirk Kuyt on Richard Dunne. James Collins restarts play with the free kick.
Jonjo Shelvey joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jay Spearing.
The official flags Dirk Kuyt offside. Richard Dunne takes the free kick.
Nigel Reo-Coker concedes a free kick for a foul on Jay Spearing. The referee shows Nigel Reo-Coker a yellow card for unsporting behaviour. Jamie Carragher takes the direct free kick.
Nigel Reo-Coker gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Fabio Aurelio. Fabio Aurelio restarts play with the free kick.
Nigel Reo-Coker challenges Raul Meireles unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Raul Meireles.
The official flags Luis Suarez offside. Kyle Walker restarts play with the free kick.
No excuses from McAllister
Gary McAllister admits Aston Villa have underachieved this season and will not use all the changes which have taken place during the past nine months as an excuse.
Villa will bring the curtain down on a campaign in which four different managers have been at the helm - Martin O'Neill, caretaker Kevin MacDonald, Gerard Houllier and now stand-in boss McAllister.
They have been hovering above the relegation zone for most of the season after three top-six finishes in a row.
McAllister knows they have to improve on that but can also see grounds for optimism ahead of the final game with Liverpool at Villa Park.
He said: "It has most definitely not been a successful season. This place is geared for better than that.
"It has been a massive season of change and you can maybe look for that as an excuse - but we don't see it as an excuse. It's been disappointing.
"It's been frustrating but there is enough to suggest we can take it forward. There are a lot of encouraging things.
"In a very frustrating season our three main forwards have been major players for the England team this year for Fabio Capello.
"Everybody also knows of the calibre of young players we have got here and we have had to use a few of those guys this season when it wasn't on.
"They were tight games and big games where we had to push some youngsters in. They will have benefited from that so it's not all doom and gloom."
McAllister also admitted: "I know from being a player that they don't like change. By the time we got here, there had been two managers and then we've had what's happened to Gerard Houllier (a heart problem).
"They have had four different people doing team talks to them this year and that's not been ideal. But again we don't want to look back and start looking for excuses.
"It has been very frustrating and tough for the fans who are very unaccustomed to being in the bottom half and near the relegation zone.
"But there was a nice push towards the end where we realised we were in trouble and the response we got from everybody here was fantastic. Now we want to finish on a high against Liverpool."
McAllister has no fresh injury concerns and striker Darren Bent will be looking to take his goal tally with Villa into double figures since moving from Sunderland in January.
Kenny Dalglish could cap a successful first five months in charge since returning as Liverpool manager by qualifying for Europe - but there will be no introspection or reflection from the canny Scot.
A place in the Europa League seemed a distant hope when he succeeded Roy Hodgson in January with the team 12th in the Premier League, seemingly with more worries about the bottom of the table than the top.
But if they can get a better result at Aston Villa than Tottenham do at home to relegation-threatened Birmingham then a 12th successive season of European football will be secured.
Dalglish, however, will be focused on what improvements he can make to the team for next season rather than congratulating himself on turning around a faltering campaign which had seen the club drop into the bottom three at one point.
"I don't think we need to reflect, I think we need to sit down and have conversations with people we trust - both for their integrity and judgement in football," he said.
"We could sit and reflect but we know most of the answers now."
Dalglish joked that signing a three-year-contract last week had not done him any favours in terms of results - having lost to Tottenham last Sunday.
He also said it was not even much benefit in terms of helping the club move forward as plans had already been put in place for next season before his position was confirmed, although once the side started winning that was a mere formality.
"The planning was going on any way, irrespective of who was coming in because you can't leave it until the last minute," he added.
"For training and some of the pre-season matches, planning had to be done.
"If you're sitting in this chair you've got to make the decision about what you want to do and when you want to train.
"But regarding players, there's only one person who can decide that, and that's the manager.
"That's something we need to come to terms with and get our skates on with to make sure we get to the right players."
Midfielder Raul Meireles returns to the squad after missing last week's defeat with a minor injury.
Downing downs Reds
Aston Villa duo Stewart Downing and Ashley Young have been on Liverpool's radar for some time and manager Kenny Dalglish witnessed first-hand their qualities as his side slipped to a 1-0 defeat which ended their Europa League hopes.
With Tottenham only drawing the Reds could have leapt into fifth place and secured European qualification with a victory but they rarely troubled their hosts on an afternoon when Villa's two wingers provided the main attacking thrust.
Downing produced the one moment of quality with a deft touch and brilliant finish to decide the match in the first half as Dalglish's players appeared to run out of steam after a season which for some of them began in July in the Europa League.
It means Liverpool have failed to qualify for Europe for the first time since 1999, although many will see that as a blessing as it will give Dalglish a chance to concentrate on strengthening his squad and making a challenge to get back in the Champions League next season.
Dalglish appeared to already have one eye on the future by naming a bench which, the 31-year-old Christian Poulsen apart, had an average age of just over 19.
He also gave Joe Cole a chance to impress with his first start for two months but the England international failed to take it and he faces an uncertain future after just one season at Anfield in which he has failed to deliver.
Injured Reds captain Steven Gerrard was sat among the travelling supporters but he will have been less than impressed by a first half which was almost entirely devoid of quality or incident.
In fact, Downing's 33rd-minute goal aside it was difficult to single out anything else worthy of a mention.
Virtually substitute Marc Albrighton's first involvement having replaced Fabian Delph was to provide the right-wing cross which sailed over the defence to the unmarked Downing who took a touch before smashing a narrow-angle shot past Jose Reina via the underside of the crossbar.
Either side of that the story of the half was of niggling fouls, injuries and scrappy play.
Liverpool lost Jay Spearing barely 10 minutes into the game having been fouled moments earlier by Nigel Reo-Coker, who was booked, and was replaced by Jonjo Shelvey.
Jamie Carragher temporarily had to leave the field to have stitches in a head wound after a clash with Lucas Leiva, who came closest to scoring for the Reds with a shot from a Raul Meireles corner cleared off the line by Ashley Young.
Cole had a chance to atone for an anonymous opening 45 minutes when Lucas' lofted ball picked him out in the penalty area but he ballooned a shot well over.
The England international's disappointing afternoon was eventually ended in the 67th minute when he was replaced by David Ngog.
Just prior to that Raul Meireles should have done better when Luis Suarez's cut-back took out the sliding Kyle Walker and James Collins but former Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Friedel clawed out his shot.
Collins, substitute Gabriel Agbonlahor and Stiliyan Petrov all had chances to put the result beyond doubt as the hosts finished the stronger, with only Fabio Aurelio and Luis Suarez coming anywhere close for Liverpool.
Ashley Young's withdrawal minutes from the end saw the player, entering the last year of his contract, applaud all four sides of the ground in what looked like a farewell.
But even the prospect of losing one of their major stars could not dampen the delight of the home crowd, who could not decide whether they were happier at a first Villa Park win over the Reds since February 1998 or the demise of city rivals Birmingham.
Meanwhile Dalglish, heading into his first summer transfer window, has plenty to ponder after back-to-back defeats to end the season.
Big decisions need to be taken on some big names as he looks to revitalise his playing staff.
He may well have seen the future at Villa Park.
"EPL 1998-2008 Title contenders"