Sports - Football - Premier League - Aston Villa 1:2 Liverpool
Aston Villa remain in the relegation zone as Liverpool came from behind to win 1-2 at Villa Park, slashing the gap to their local rivals Everton to three points and staying in the race for European qualification.
Paul Lambert's men dominated most of the first half and took the lead when Gabriel Agbonlahor's lay-off found Christian Benteke, who fired home gratefully.
But Brendan Rodgers' side came back strongly from the restart, Jordan Henderson levelling the score two minutes into the second half with a nicely taken chip past Bradley Guzan.
And with half an hour to go, Steven Gerrard netted the winner from the spot after Nathan Baker had clumsily brought down Luis Suarez in the box.
The home side had plenty of time and chances to get something out of the game, but after Andreas Weimann's high-blast miss and Gerrard's breathtaking clearance of Benteke's header off the line, it seemed not to be Villa's day.
And everything had looked so promising for Villa in the first half. From kick-off they dominated possession, play and chances with Benteke and Agbonlahor missing chances.
On that note, the half could have ended 3-3, with Red playmaker Suarez also missing a couple of sitter. American keeper Guzan also kept the game going thanks to a couple of saves against Gerrard and Suarez.
But it was not to be, the Reds took over in the second half, Glen Johnson seeing his shot coming off a Villa player and then the far post between both Red goals.
It was a game of two halves, Rodgers ending up the happier after seeing his side's improvement, fight-back and positive turnaround whilst Lambert is left picking up the pieces and his side.
The Scotsman can draw positives from this game but needs to work on the back line especially to avoid his side to drop more goals and points like this in the relegation battle.
Aston Villa Goals: 1.: 30:38min Christian Benteke (20).
Liverpool Goals: 1.: 46:52min Jordan Henderson (14), 2.: 59:15min Steven Gerrard (8) penalty.
Aston Villa: 22 Guzan; 27 Bennett, 32 Baker, 4 Vlaar, 34 Lowton; 25 Bannan (16 Delph - 62.), 15 Westwood (booked 91.), 18 Sylla (8 El Ahmadi - 76.); 11 Agbonlahor, 20 Benteke, 26 Weimann (10 N'Zogbia - 62.). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 1 Given, 21 Bowery, 24 Dawkins, 30 Lichaj.
Liverpool: 25 Reina; 3 Jose Enrique, 23 Carragher, 5 Agger, 2 Johnson; 8 Gerrard (booked 48.), 21 Lucas; 19 Downing, 10 Coutinho (31 Sterling - 77.), 14 Henderson; 7 Suarez. 4-2-3-1
Subs not used: 1 Jones, 15 Sturridge, 16 Coates, 30 Suso, 33 Shelvey, 37 Skrtel.
Sky Stats: Aston Villa-Liverpool
On target: 4-7
Free kicks: 9-9
Referee: Lee Mason
Man of the match: Steven Gerrard