Liverpool recovered from two goals down to draw with Aston Villa and maintain their unbeaten start to 2014.

Andreas Weimann stabbed the visitors ahead before Christian Benteke's header deservedly doubled Villa's lead.

Daniel Sturridge pulled a goal back for Liverpool just before half-time as he latched onto Jordan Henderson's flick.

Steven Gerrard's penalty levelled matters after Luis Suarez went down under goalkeeper Brad Guzan's tackle.

Penalty king

Since the start of last season, Luis Suarez has won seven penalties - four more than any other Premier League player.

The draw leaves Liverpool just two points ahead of fifth-placed Everton and a win for the Toffees at West Brom on Monday would lift them above their local rivals.

A point moves Villa into the top half of the Premier League - albeit just six points above the relegation zone.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insisted last week that his side "will never give up the fight"  for the title but, despite their comeback, he will be left to regret a dismal first-half display that saw them drop two points from what must have looked a winnable home fixture.

Paul Lambert's Villa had won just one of their previous seven Premier League matches but should have been ahead even sooner when Gabriel Agbonlahor raced clear on goal from Benteke's flick-on, only to prod wide.

Rodgers pleased by Liverpool spirit

Ashley Westwood then struck straight at home goalkeeper Simon Mignolet before Ciaran Clark headed against the post as an under-par Liverpool were dominated by Villa.

And when the visitors took a deserved lead through Weimann, who stabbed home Agbonlahor's low cross from the left, Liverpool fans must have had a sense of deja vu following Villa's 3-1 win at Anfield last season.

The Reds went into the game with three wins out of three in 2014 but, in front of owner John W Henry on a rare Anfield visit, they looked a pale shadow of their usual free-scoring selves.

Suarez, looking to add to his 22 goals for the season, was nullified by the visitors, while starting him with strike partner Sturridge for the first time since November in an attacking line-up was not having the desired effect.

And Villa's control was further emphasised when Benteke doubled his side's lead in front of the Kop, heading into an empty net after Mignolet misjudged Agbonlahor's right-wing cross.

Anfield villains

Aston Villa have lost just once in their last five Premier League visits to Anfield.

The match changed just before half-time, however, as Sturridge latched onto a brilliant flick from Jordan Henderson and, with his first sight of goal all game, lifted the ball into the net for his 13th strike of the campaign.

The goal was tough on Villa but it did not take Liverpool long to take advantage as Steven Gerrard, pushed further forward after the half-time introduction of Lucas, started to dictate play.

The captain sent Suarez through with a brilliant diagonal pass soon after the restart and the Uruguayan, heading away from goal and with work to do, was sent sprawling by Guzan's rash challenge. Villa were adamant no contact had been made but Gerrard coolly side-footed home the penalty.

Driven forward by Gerrard, even after Joe Allen replaced injured substitute Lucas, Liverpool went close through Suarez and Raheem Sterling but were left frustrated as a battling Villa held on.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers:

"We just couldn't get going in the first half. We changed the system after the first goal. I felt we couldn't get any flow. The second half we showed great spirit and got the equaliser.

"You have to give credit to Aston Villa. Christian Benteke was a real threat and Andreas Weimann was a problem. It wasn't until we changed it around that we got a foothold in the game.

Lambert critical of penalty decision

"It is a mark of the mentality that we were not at our best but we still dig out a result. We will learn from it and move on.

"It was vital to get that goal before half time. That gave us the spark going into the second half. The response from the players was outstanding."

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert:

"We should have had three or four goals in the first half. We were fantastic, really good. We came here last year and won 3-1 and I thought we played a lot better today. In the first half we were outstanding.

"Their goal gave them a lifeline going into half-time. I am not so sure about the penalty, I think Brad Guzan has pulled his arms away. I don't think it is a penalty. With the magnitude of the game you have to be 100% sure, Brad's arms have been pulled away.

"I don't think we could have done any more except win the game. There were major plus points, Nearly every player was outstanding."

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (5)

Liverpool

  • 22 Mignolet
  • 02 Johnson
  • 20 Cissokho
  • 08 Gerrard
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 04 K Touré
  • 31 Sterling Booked
  • 14 Henderson
  • 07 Suárez
  • 15 Sturridge
  • 10 Coutinho (Lucas - 45' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 06 Luis Alberto
  • 09 Iago Aspas
  • 12 Moses
  • 21 Lucas (Allen - 66' )
  • 24 Allen
  • 34 Kelly

Aston Villa

  • 01 Guzan
  • 07 Bacuna Booked
  • 23 Bertrand Booked (Luna - 81' )
  • 15 Westwood
  • 04 Vlaar
  • 06 Clark Booked
  • 08 El Ahmadi Booked (Sylla - 62' )
  • 16 Delph
  • 20 Benteke
  • 10 Weimann
  • 11 Agbonlahor (Holt - 49' )

Substitutes

  • 09 Helenius
  • 12 Albrighton
  • 13 Steer
  • 14 Luna
  • 18 Sylla
  • 22 Gardner
  • 29 Holt
Ref: Jonathan Moss
Att: 44,737

Match Stats

Shots

14 12

On target

6 3

Corners

2 3

Fouls

14 18

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Liverpool 2, Aston Villa 2.

90:00 +4:09 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Liverpool 2, Aston Villa 2.

89:20

Foul by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

89:20

Antonio Luna (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

87:47 Booking

Booking Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.

80:58 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Antonio Luna replaces Ryan Bertrand.

80:33

Foul by Joe Allen (Liverpool).

80:33

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

80:22

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

79:30

Delay in match Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

77:57

Joe Allen (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

77:57

Foul by Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa).

76:29

Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.

75:40

Luis Suárez (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

75:40

Foul by Yacouba Sylla (Aston Villa).

74:25

Foul by Steven Gerrard (Liverpool).

74:25

Grant Holt (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

73:42

Offside, Liverpool. Raheem Sterling tries a through ball, but Luis Suárez is caught offside.

71:43

Attempt missed. Grant Holt (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ashley Westwood with a cross following a corner.

71:20

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Jordan Henderson.

70:50

Foul by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

70:50

Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

69:55

Foul by Aly Cissokho (Liverpool).

69:55

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.

68:39

Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

68:39

Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

66:55

Attempt missed. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jordan Henderson with a headed pass.

65:53

Joe Allen (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

65:53

Foul by Yacouba Sylla (Aston Villa).

65:31 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Joe Allen replaces Lucas Leiva because of an injury.

65:00

Foul by Luis Suárez (Liverpool).

65:00

Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

64:52

Attempt saved. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Daniel Sturridge.

63:01

Attempt saved. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Glen Johnson.

62:50

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

61:30 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Yacouba Sylla replaces Karim El Ahmadi.

61:14

Delay in match Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) because of an injury.

60:51

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

60:51

Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

60:00

Attempt missed. Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

58:06

Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

58:06

Foul by Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa).

57:29

Foul by Lucas Leiva (Liverpool).

57:29

Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

56:53

Attempt saved. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.

55:46

Attempt missed. Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Christian Benteke with a headed pass.

54:31

Foul by Lucas Leiva (Liverpool).

54:31

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

53:52

Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from more than 40 yards on the left wing is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

53:48

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

53:48

Foul by Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa).

52:42 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Liverpool 2, Aston Villa 2. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

51:43

Penalty Liverpool. Luis Suárez draws a foul in the penalty area.

51:43

Penalty conceded by Brad Guzan (Aston Villa) after a foul in the penalty area.

50:41

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

50:41

Foul by Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa).

48:57

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

48:50 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Grant Holt replaces Gabriel Agbonlahor because of an injury.

48:10

Delay in match Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

47:48 Booking

Booking Ryan Bertrand (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

47:42

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

47:42

Foul by Ryan Bertrand (Aston Villa).

46:42

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

46:42

Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa).

46:15

Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right.

45:00

Second Half begins Liverpool 1, Aston Villa 2.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Lucas Leiva replaces Philippe Coutinho.

45:00 +3:00 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Liverpool 1, Aston Villa 2.

45:00 +1:54 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Liverpool 1, Aston Villa 2. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Jordan Henderson with a through ball.

45:00 +0:09

Luis Suárez (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

45:00 +0:09

Foul by Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa).

44:04

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ciaran Clark.

44:03

Attempt blocked. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

43:24

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43:24

Foul by Ryan Bertrand (Aston Villa).

40:35

Attempt missed. Aly Cissokho (Liverpool) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left misses to the left. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

35:59 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Liverpool 0, Aston Villa 2. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Gabriel Agbonlahor with a cross.

32:37

Offside, Liverpool. Philippe Coutinho tries a through ball, but Luis Suárez is caught offside.

31:30

Attempt saved. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

29:57

Foul by Ryan Bertrand (Aston Villa).

29:57

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

29:42

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

28:09

Delay in match Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

28:07

Delay in match Luis Suárez (Liverpool) because of an injury.

27:39

Attempt missed. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Jordan Henderson.

27:04

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Martin Skrtel.

24:42 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Liverpool 0, Aston Villa 1. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Gabriel Agbonlahor with a cross.

23:03

Attempt blocked. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) right footed shot from very close range is blocked.

23:02

Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) hits the right post with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Ashley Westwood with a cross following a corner.

22:37

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Kolo Touré.

20:58

Attempt missed. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.

20:16 Booking

Booking Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

20:01

Foul by Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa).

20:01

Aly Cissokho (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

18:36

Hand ball by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

17:02

Attempt missed. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a fast break.

15:45 Booking

Booking Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

15:31

Foul by Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa).

15:31

Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

15:19

Attempt saved. Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

14:20

Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa).

14:20

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

12:27

Attempt blocked. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Andreas Weimann.

10:50

Hand ball by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

10:07

Ryan Bertrand (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

10:07

Foul by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

9:09

Attempt blocked. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Christian Benteke with a headed pass.

8:23

Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

8:23

Foul by Kolo Touré (Liverpool).

7:27

Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

7:27

Foul by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

6:59

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

6:19

Delay in match Kolo Touré (Liverpool) because of an injury.

5:17

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Leandro Bacuna.

4:32

Foul by Fabian Delph (Aston Villa).

4:32

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

3:00

Offside, Liverpool. Simon Mignolet tries a through ball, but Luis Suárez is caught offside.

2:01

Offside, Aston Villa. Leandro Bacuna tries a through ball, but Christian Benteke is caught offside.

1:25

Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

1:25

Foul by Luis Suárez (Liverpool).

0:54

Attempt missed. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Christian Benteke with a headed pass.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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