As has often been the case this season, the home side looked lively and threatening as the game got underway. Benteke and Agbonlahor offered the near-capacity crowd some decent link-up play and Westwood, the official ‘man of the match’, appeared confident in midfield, doing his bit to quieten Suarez and sending Bennett a promising pass that the young left-back then crossed in for Benteke, who was unable to make contact with the ball.
A Weimann volley was then blocked before Agbonlahor had a great chance to open the scoring in the seventeenth minute when Lowton delivered a well-crafted cross but Agbonlahor shot straight at Reina even though it seemed impossible not to find the net.
Liverpool then tested Guzan, leaving Villa’s keeper to tip Suarez’s shot over the bar.
Baker did well to steal the ball off Suarez inside the box.
Unsurprisingly, it was Benteke who fired the home side ahead after 31 minutes. Reina seemed to get a hand to the ball but was unable to keep it out.
A nervy end to the first half ensued as Guzan stopped another Suarez effort and just managed to get a fingertip or two to Gerrard’s long-range shot.
After the break, the visitors needed only a few minutes to even things up: Henderson brushed the ball past Guzan to make it 1-1.
Under pressure, Villa gave Rodgers’ side too much space and Coutinho looked set to put Liverpool ahead after 56 minutes but he somehow sent the ball wide.
To make matters worse, Villa gave away the lead when Baker brought Suarez down in the box. Gerrard stepped up and calmly converted the ensuing penalty.
Weimann had a clear chance from ten yards but bundled the ball over the bar.
A Westwood corner found Benteke’s head and was stopped only by Gerrard, who, at full stretch, cleared it off the line.
Guzan made another decent save from Suarez.
Although Benteke found the net in injury time, it didn’t help as he was blatantly offside.
With only seven games remaining, Lambert and his players must be disappointed not to have secured at least a point from today’s game but can take some heart from the first half as they look ahead to next weekend’s trip to Stoke.