Liverpool 1-3 Villa report: Benteke/Weimann rock the Reds
Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann were in lethal form as Villa recorded a magnificent victory over Liverpool at Anfield.
The Belgium international was on target twice, taking his Villa haul to seven in seventeen games, as well as setting up a goal for his Austrian striking partner.
Almost 36 years after the famous 5-1 victory over the Reds at Villa Park in December 1976, Paul Lambert's men produced an outstanding performance which will also live long in the memory.
Benteke opened the scoring with a stunning 29th-minute drive and his back-heel set up number two for Weimann five minutes before the interval.
Then Benteke stormed through the heart of the Liverpool defence to make it 3-0 in the 51st minute and the visitors defended resolutely before Steven Gerrard reduced the deficit three minutes from the end.
And to put the seal on a perfect afternoon, the whole of Anfield joined in the 19th-minute applause for Stiliyan Petrov in a moving tribute to Villa's club captain.
Villa had a chance with barely a minute on the clock, Benteke meeting Barry Bannan's well-measured free-kick with a header which was held by Pepe Reina.
The home side made most of the early running, though, Jonjo Shelvey sending former Villa man Stewart Downing racing down the left for a dangerous low cross which deflected off Eric Lichaj into Brad Guzan's arms.
Then the keeper saved a snap shot from Gerrard, before Downing worked his way into a good position for a drive which wasn't far off target.
Brett Holman's fine 17th-minute pass picked out Weimann in a menacing position and the young Austrian attempted to take the ball around Reina, only to be thwarted by a fine sliding tackle by the home keeper at the expense of a corner.
But it took a timely tackle by Nathan Baker to prevent what looked a certain Liverpool goal two minutes later.
Chris Herd was dispossessed by Luis Suarez, who quickly slipped the ball inside to Shelvey. But just as the midfielder lined up his shot, Baker arrived with a crucial challenge.
Guzan was relieved that Suarez didn't get much power behind his shot after Shelvey headed the ball down to set up a good opportunity but two minutes later Villa were ahead.
Accepting Holman's short pass, Benteke looked up briefly before unleashing a superb 22-yard right-foot drive which left Reina helpless as it went in off his right-hand post.
After Suarez had fired into the netting, Weimann was only just too high with a lob from just outside the area following a slip by Glen Johnson - and in the 40th minute it was 2-0.
Weimann's pass sent Benteke racing through the right-hand channel and when the Belgium international realised the angle was too tight, he cleverly back-heeled for his striking partner to send a precise low shot past Reina and into the far corner.
Guzan held Downing's shot early in the second half, while home supporters appealed in vain for a penalty as Ciaran Clark tugged at Daniel Agger's shirt as they contested a corner.
But in the 51st minute, Villa extended their lead with a goal out of nothing.
Holman's challenge on sub Joe Cole saw the ball break loose to Benteke just inside the Liverpool half and he surged through the middle before calmly steering a right-foot shot past Reina from 10 yards.
That was followed by Reina saves from both Weimann and Bannan's deflected shot before the Reds mounted an inevitable onslaught.
During a sustained spell of home pressure, Suarez had a shot blocked, Cole fired wide and Skrtel headed over before a fiercely-struck Suarez free-kick produced a frantic spell which had Villa defending desperately before the finally cleared.
Villa's attacks were now limited, although Weimann was only just wide with a header from Bannan's 80th-minute cross.
The visitors' defence was finally breached in the 87th minute, Gerard diverting Johnson's cross past Guzan in a crowded goalmouth, but it wasn't enough to spoil a special day.
Liverpool: Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Downing; Lucas (Henderson 60); Sterling (Cole, HT), Gerrard, Allen, Sterling; Suarez. Unused subs: Jones, Carragher, Coates, Suso, Wisdom.
Villa: Guzan; Herd, Clark, Baker; Lowton, Holman (Delph 69), Bannan (El Ahmadi 86), Westwood, Lichaj; Weimann (N'Zogbia 90), Benteke. Unused subs: Given, Albrighton, Bowery, Bennett.
Make sure you back the boys against Tottenham.
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