Premier League: Liverpool were held to a 2-2 draw by Aston Villa
Last Updated: 18/01/14 10:22pm
Liverpool came from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa in an entertaining Premier League clash at Anfield.
Villa raced into a deserved 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke, but Daniel Sturridge pulled a goal back right on the stroke of half-time to give the home side hope.
Liverpool won a penalty early in the second half as Luis Suarez went down in the box under a challenge from Brad Guzan and Steven Gerrard scored from the spot.
Best of the match
- Man of the match: Ron Vlaar was superb at the back as he kept Luis Suarez at bay.
- Goal of the match: Sturridge's goal was a brilliant finish from Henderson's sublime flick
- Save of the match: Brad Guzan produced a superb save low down to keep out Henderson's powerful shot.
- Moment of the match: Sturridge's goal on the stroke of half-time was the turning point in the game as Villa were on top up to that
- Talking point: Have Liverpool got enough to finish in the top four? Will Villa be involved in a relegation battle
The home side pushed for a winner, but the Villa defence held firm as Liverpool were held to a draw for the first time this season at Anfield.
Villa came flying out of the blocks and should have broke the deadlock inside the first minute when Gabriel Agbonlahor latched onto strike partner Christian Benteke's flick-on to go clear on goal, but Agbonlahor could only poke his effort wide of the post.
The visitors continued to call the tune early on and Ashley Westwood fired in a half-volley on the edge of the box which Simon Mignolet did well to keep out.
Villa were inches away from opening the scoring on 24 minutes when Ciaran Clark lost Glen Johnson from Westwood's corner and was unlucky to see his header come back off the base of the post.
A minute later Villa grabbed the lead their early dominance deserved as Agbonlahor beat Kolo Toure for pace down the left and crossed for Weimann to slide the ball home from close range.
Villa grabbed a second goal on 37 minutes with Agbonlahor again the provider as his cross from the right failed to be cut out by Mignolet and Johnson and Benteke was on hand to head home into an empty net.
Liverpool created their best chance of the opening half on 41 minutes when Suarez beat two Villa defenders and laid the ball into the path of Aly Cissokho, who sliced his shot horribly wide of goal much to the annoyance of Suarez, who was expecting a return pass from the full-back.
Liverpool pulled a goal back right on the stroke of half-time when Suarez found Jordan Henderson inside the box and his clever flick ran into the path of Sturridge, who expertly lifted the ball over the onrushing Guzan.
Liverpool drew level seven minutes after the break with Suarez latching onto a fine pass from Gerrard to go clear on goal before being upended by Guzan.
Gerrard took responsibilty from the spot and scored to drag Liverpool back into the game.
Guzan denied Liverpool a third on 65 minutes with a superb reaction save to keep out Henderson's powerful shot from the edge of the box.
Suarez went close 13 minutes from time with a free-kick from fully 35 yards which flew just wide with Guzan beaten in the Villa goal.
Neither side could find a winner in the closing stages as they both had to be content with a point.
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Liverpool v Aston Villa
Gary Neville says Luis Suarez did the professional thing in earning a penalty against Aston Villa.
Brendan Rodgers has warned Roberto Martinez to expect a very different Liverpool side in next week's Merseyside derby.
Aston Villa keeper Brad Guzan says Luis Suarez had no idea if he had been fouled for the controversial penalty.