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Long range effort by Stewart Downing goes wide right of the target.
Robert Pires fouled by Leiva Lucas, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Stephen Warnock.
The ball is delivered by Stephen Ireland, save made by Jose Reina.
Richard Dunne concedes a free kick for a foul on Ryan Babel. Fabio Aurelio delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, John Carew manages to make a clearance.
Raul Meireles takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
Martin Kelly joins the action as a substitute, replacing Sotirios Kyrgiakos.
Joe Cole produces a cross, Richard Dunne makes a clearance.
Glen Johnson takes a shot. Robert Pires gets a block in.
Joe Cole replaces Dirk Kuyt. Short corner worked by Fabio Aurelio.
The ball is crossed by Ryan Babel, clearance made by Stephen Warnock.
Rodriguez Maxi goes off and Fabio Aurelio comes on.
Martin Skrtel has shot on goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
Raul Meireles takes the outswinging corner, Sotirios Kyrgiakos takes a shot. Clearance made by Luke Young.
David Ngog produces a cross, Stephen Warnock manages to make a clearance.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Nathan Delfouneso on Sotirios Kyrgiakos. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
Effort on goal by Glen Johnson from just inside the area clears the bar.
Nathan Delfouneso concedes a free kick for a foul on Martin Skrtel. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
Luke Young crosses the ball, clearance by Dirk Kuyt.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Ryan Babel. Brad Friedel takes the indirect free kick.
Outswinging corner taken by Raul Meireles from the right by-line, James Collins manages to make a clearance.
Glen Johnson takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
James Collins gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Ngog. Raul Meireles takes the direct free kick.
Nathan Delfouneso delivers the ball.
Stewart Downing takes a shot. Save made by Jose Reina.
Robert Pires joins the action as a substitute, replacing Marc Albrighton. John Carew is brought on as a substitute for Gabriel Agbonlahor. Dirk Kuyt is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Stephen Warnock, clearance made by Sotirios Kyrgiakos.
A cross is delivered by Stewart Downing, Jose Reina makes a save.
The ball is sent over by Jonathan Hogg, save by Jose Reina.
Stewart Downing has an effort at goal from outside the area which misses left.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nathan Delfouneso by Leiva Lucas. Free kick taken by Jonathan Hogg.
Corner taken by Stewart Downing played to the near post, clearance made by David Ngog.
Stewart Downing crosses the ball, clearance made by Martin Skrtel.
Rodriguez Maxi grabs a goal from just inside the area to the top right corner of the goal. Liverpool 3-0 Aston Villa.The assist for the goal came from David Ngog.
The ball is delivered by Stewart Downing, save made by Jose Reina.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Ryan Babel. Brad Friedel restarts play with the free kick.
Marc Albrighton fouled by Rodriguez Maxi, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed by Stewart Downing, save by Jose Reina.
Gabriel Agbonlahor takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
Marc Albrighton produces a cross, save by Jose Reina.
Ryan Babel is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by James Collins.
The ball is delivered by Gabriel Agbonlahor, Glen Johnson manages to make a clearance.
Ciaran Clark leaves the field to be replaced by Nathan Delfouneso.
Booking for Ciaran Clark for unsporting behaviour. Free kick awarded for a foul by Ciaran Clark on Leiva Lucas. Sotirios Kyrgiakos takes the free kick.
Shot from just outside the box by Ryan Babel misses to the right of the target.
Rodriguez Maxi gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stewart Downing. Stephen Ireland restarts play with the free kick.
Unfair challenge on Stephen Ireland by Leiva Lucas results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Stephen Ireland.
Ryan Babel sends in a cross, clearance by James Collins.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Rodriguez Maxi on Luke Young. Direct free kick taken by James Collins.
Gabriel Agbonlahor challenges Martin Skrtel unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jose Reina takes the direct free kick.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Ngog by Marc Albrighton. The ball is sent over by Raul Meireles, Header from close in by Sotirios Kyrgiakos misses to the left of the target.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stephen Ireland by David Ngog. Brad Friedel takes the free kick.
Stewart Downing takes the inswinging corner, James Collins produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.
Marc Albrighton produces a cross, blocked by Paul Konchesky.
Stephen Warnock challenges Dirk Kuyt unfairly and gives away a free kick. Glen Johnson takes the free kick.
Gabriel Agbonlahor challenges Raul Meireles unfairly and gives away a free kick. Rodriguez Maxi takes the direct free kick.
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing played to the near post, Raul Meireles makes a clearance.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Stephen Ireland on Leiva Lucas. Free kick taken by Glen Johnson.
The ball is sent over by Luke Young, Jose Reina makes a save.
Dirk Kuyt concedes a free kick for a foul on Ciaran Clark. Richard Dunne takes the direct free kick.
Ryan Babel grabs a goal from just inside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa.Assist by Leiva Lucas.
Raul Meireles gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephen Ireland. Richard Dunne takes the free kick.
David Ngog gets on the score sheet with a goal from close in to the top left corner of the goal. Liverpool 1-0 Aston Villa.Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Raul Meireles from the right by-line, assist by Martin Skrtel.
The ball is crossed by Luke Young, Martin Skrtel manages to make a clearance.
Foul by Ryan Babel on Jonathan Hogg, free kick awarded. James Collins takes the free kick.
Stewart Downing delivers the ball, clearance made by Martin Skrtel.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Paul Konchesky on Stephen Ireland. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Stewart Downing, David Ngog manages to make a clearance.
The ball is crossed by Stewart Downing, save by Jose Reina.
Foul by Leiva Lucas on Marc Albrighton, free kick awarded. James Collins takes the free kick.
A cross is delivered by David Ngog, Ciaran Clark manages to make a clearance.
Foul by Stephen Warnock on Ryan Babel, free kick awarded. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Raul Meireles.
Dirk Kuyt has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.
Richard Dunne concedes a free kick for a foul on David Ngog. Raul Meireles crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing, Stephen Warnock manages to make a clearance.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos fouled by Gabriel Agbonlahor, the ref awards a free kick. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
The half-time whistle blows.
The second half begins.
The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos will take Jamie Carragher's place in central defence for Monday's Barclays Premier League encounter at home to Aston Villa as the vice-captain undergoes a shoulder operation.
Carragher sustained a dislocation in last weekend's defeat at Tottenham and is likely to be out for three months, leaving the team with only two senior centre-backs in the former Greece international and Martin Skrtel.
Manager Roy Hodgson will welcome back his first-choice players having left eight at home - only three of whom were injured - for the Europa League draw with Steaua Bucharest.
Captain Steven Gerrard is likely to be at least another week away from returning from a hamstring injury sustained on England duty last month while no date has been set for defender Daniel Agger's return.
Roy Hodgson expects former Reds boss Gerard Houllier to receive a warm welcome on his competitive return to Anfield.
But he hopes that is all he gets as the Englishman is keen for his side to continue their recent improvement, even taking into account last weekend's injury-time defeat at Tottenham.
Houllier sat alongside the man who now has his old job in the Liverpool dugout for Jamie Carragher's testimonial in September.
On Monday he will sit on the unfamiliar opposition bench where he will try to get one over on his former club, with whom he won the Carling Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup treble in 2001.
Houllier and Hodgson share many similarities and are close friends but that will count for nothing as Liverpool look to extend a four-match winning run at Anfield in all competitions.
"I have known Gerard for many years, since I went to Switzerland in 1990," said the current Liverpool manager.
"We have been friends for over 20 years, we've done a lot of work together in Europe for UEFA in the technical study groups and FIFA as well for that matter.
"I am delighted he is back in English football and I am certain he will get a very good reception when he comes back to Anfield because people appreciated the work he did for Liverpool.
"Like anyone in the Premier League, we all have difficult jobs on our hands and we know his team will be hard to beat, well organised and have some very good individual players.
"I am hoping we will carry on where we have left off in the last couple of games, particularly against West Ham (a 3-0 home win) and Tottenham (a 2-1 away defeat).
"If we can play at that level for the rest of the season I have high hopes we will do well."
Aston Villa winger Ashley Young is suspended.
Young collected his fifth booking of the campaign during the Carling Cup semi-final defeat against Birmingham in midweek and will have to serve a one-game ban.
Midfielder Barry Bannan is also rated doubtful by Villa boss Houllier after being substituted with a groin injury against Blues.
Stephen Ireland and Robert Pires will come under consideration for a recall to the starting line-up.
Former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey has resumed training following a knee problem but it is too early for him to be considered against the Reds.
Houllier expects a warm reception from Liverpool fans but he regrets the two surviving players from his era on Merseyside - Gerrard and Carragher - will be ruled out through injury.
Houllier lifted half-a-dozen trophies during his six years in charge at Anfield and helped the club out of the doldrums before leaving in 2004.
His focus is on helping Villa to move away from the bottom of the table but he has happy memories of his time at the Reds.
Houllier said: "I know the fans will welcome me, I'm sure because we had a close relationship and we worked together because the fans are part of the team.
"I know they contributed to the success that we had.
"They will remember (the success) and the fans in Liverpool, when I went back for TV reasons, were always full of cheerful hospitality.
"It is a club I liked even before going there so, having spent six years there, and being together with some people, obviously you can't forget the club.
"I might feel something special when I get on the pitch just before the game.
"Before that, I will do my job and be focused on the team."
Reds ruin Houllier's return
Liverpool's stand-in strikers shrugged off the absence of Fernando Torres to secure a comfortable victory 3-0 over Aston Villa and make it an unhappy return to Anfield for former Reds manager Gerard Houllier.
With Torres given the night off to be with his wife Olalla, who had gone into labour with their second child, David Ngog and Ryan Babel ensured he was not unduly missed with first-half goals.
Maxi Rodriguez added the third in the 55th minute to make it four successive Barclays Premier League victories for Roy Hodgson's side at Anfield.
In truth Villa, like previous visitors West Ham, posed little in the way of a threat but there were some encouraging performances from Liverpool all the same.
Raul Meireles, having been given an extended run in the centre in the absence of the injured Steven Gerrard, is starting to look like an #11million midfielder and was in the midst of most of the hosts good play.
Ngog and Babel will also have gained plenty of confidence from their performances, although they will have to prove they can do it against better opposition than this if they are to have long-term futures at Anfield.
Almost forgotten in all the attacking play was Jose Reina's clean sheet, his 100th in 198 league matches breaking by some considerable distance the previous record held by Reds great Ray Clemence - who took 217 games to reach the landmark.
Houllier, who won five trophies in his six-year spell at Anfield - and four alone in 2001 - to cement his place in the club's history books was welcomed back by a club motif-emblazoned banner on the Kop which read Gerard's Heart Beats.
It may have skipped a beat in only the third minute when Dirk Kuyt volleyed wide after Ngog's two headers from Meireles' right-wing free-kick were not cleared.
Set-pieces were a weakness for Villa all night and they were undone by one in the 14th minute.
Meireles' clipped delivery picked out Martin Skrtel who speared a header back across goal and the diving Ngog could not fail to nod in from barely three yards.
It was the Frenchman's eighth goal of the campaign - although only his second in the league - and it took him past Gerrard as the club's leading scorer this season.
Two minutes later Liverpool had doubled their lead with Babel justifying Hodgson's faith to select him up front.
The Dutchman has consistently failed to impress since his #11.5million move from Ajax in 2007 but his goal was an example of the talent - which some would argue he has wasted - at his disposal.
Playing on the shoulder of Stephen Warnock, Babel allowed Lucas Leiva's lofted ball to drop out to his right and he swivelled to smash a shot across Brad Friedel and inside the far post.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos could have made it 3-0 in the 27th minute but planted wide his far-post header from Meireles' free-kick while Babel curled a first-time shot just wide of Friedel's left-hand post from the Portugal international's low cross.
Villa had one chance to get back in the game just after half-time but Gabriel Agbonlahor's close-range shot from Stewart Downing's cross was half-saved by Reina and the ball cleared by Paul Konchesky.
Moments later a counter-attack of brilliant simplicity finished them off.
Reina collected and instantly rolled the ball 30 yards down the middle of the pitch to Rodriguez, who offloaded to Ngog out on the left and then perfectly timed his run to sidefoot home the return pass 40 yards further up the pitch.
Having scored just one goal in his first five months after joining last January, Rodriguez now has three in his last seven matches.
Only former Liverpool goalkeeper Friedel prevented a fourth, parrying away Johnson's shot after he had weaved his way into the area.
Kyrgiakos' header from Meireles' corner was cleared off the line by Jonathan Hogg as Villa threatened to buckle completely.
The Kop, as in years gone by, sang the names of Houllier and his assistant Gary McAllister but it was more out of sympathy than anything else.
Hodgson, who has yet to win over the Anfield faithful, stood unmoved on the touchline safe in the knowledge three points were safe - which Houllier would testify is how all managers are ultimately judged.
"Who will win the PL title this season - 2013/14?"
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