London, England, United Kingdom (4E Sports) – Striker Daniel Sturridge scored in the first half as Liverpool stormed to its second Premier League win in as many games after beating Aston Villa Saturday at Villa Park.
Sturridge’s goal, his eighth in his last seven league matches, gave Liverpool its best start to a Barclays Premier League season since the 2008-09 campaign, in which it finished second.
The win also moved Liverpool to a share of the lead with idle Chelsea with six points each and extended their superb run at Villa Park, notching its 10th win at the venue since 1998.
Christian Benteke, Gabriel Agbonlahor and substitute Aleksandar Tonev carried the fight for Aston Villa in the second half but timely saves by Simon Mignolet and excellent defense by Liverpool kept them from tying the match.
“In the second half I thought we were excellent. We gave it a go. For us, we have played probably three teams that are expected to be in that top group and we have given everyone a game,” Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert said.
Neither side could find their rhythm in the opening stages but Liverpool broke through with a 21st minute goal from Sturridge.
Villa seemed content to give their opponents time on the ball and attack on the counter, playing into the hands of the visitors, and although they could not create a clear opening, Liverpool controlled the tempo with ease.
Sturridge showcased his skill with a series of delicate touches to take the ball around the Villa defender Antonio Luna and goalkeeper Brad Guzan, before he poked into the top corner with the outside of his left foot from a difficult angle.
Villa were continually frustrated by Liverpool’s consistent defensive shape, but they did go close in the 41st minute when Benteke’s curling effort forced a save from Mignolet.
In the second half, Villa’s attacks slowly became more frequent and Benteke powered a header over from a corner, but Liverpool continued to hold firm.
Gabriel Agbonlahor and substitute Aleksandar Tonev went close with left-footed efforts as the hosts continued to press, while Mignolet made an excellent stop to deny Benteke after he broke free in the penalty area.
In other matches, Hull City defeated Norwich City, 1-0; Stoke City downed Crystal Palace, 2-1; Arsenal edged Fulham, 3-1; while Southampton and Sunderland settled for a 1-1 draw.
Matches between Everton and West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United and West Ham United both ended in scoreless draws.