Craig Bellamy inspired Liverpool to their fifth away league win of the season by scoring one goal and creating another in the space of four minutes.

The former Manchester City man fired home from close range after Jonjo Shelvey's clever flick created the opening from Stewart Downing's corner.

Bellamy then swung in a 15th-minute corner for Martin Skrtel to head home.

Charles N'Zogbia's effort in the first half was the closest Aston Villa came as they slumped to their fifth defeat.

McLeish regrets Villa's lack of cutting edge

Villa's final-day win over Liverpool at the end of last season was their first in 13 attempts but with the Reds having only one defeat in their 10 previous games before this visit, it was always going to be tough for the hosts.

And Alex McLeish's side's task was made even harder as a sluggish start saw them two down after only 15 minutes.

Downing, making his first visit to Villa Park since his £20m move in the summer to Anfield, squandered an early chance to a chorus of sarcastic cheers from the home faithful.

However, the Villa fans were soon silenced when Downing whipped in a corner that Shelvey diverted goalwards.

Luis Suarez attempted a trick of his own that Guzan blocked but Villa's second-choice keeper could do nothing to deny Bellamy smashing home.

Did you know?

Liverpool have the best defensive record in the top flight, conceding only 13 goals and keeping six clean sheets

Four minutes later, Skrtel grabbed his second goal of the season to double the visitors' advantage with Bellamy turning provider with a pacey corner that the Slovakian defender rose above Alan Hutton to head in.

With Gabriel Agbonlahor suspended and Darren Bent a late withdrawal because of injury, McLeish was missing his two top scorers and it was obvious as they created little in a first half that Liverpool dominated.

Dalglish encouraged by performance

N'Zogbia was the one bright spark for the home side as he fired over just before the half-hour mark before hitting another effort into the side-netting soon after.

Bellamy continued to prosper after the restart as he crossed for Daniel Agger but the defender headed wide despite being unmarked at the back post.

Suarez, who was cleared to play after the outcome of disciplinary hearing on Friday was delayed , had a relatively quiet first half but he almost made it three with a move of real class.

The former Ajax forward was played through on goal and he beat both Richard Dunne and James Collins before rattling his effort off the underside of the crossbar.

That was the 16th time Liverpool have hit the woodwork this season and Suarez added the 17th just before the hour.

The Uruguayan found himself on the edge of the area with limited options his deft chip beat Guzan but not the post.

Aston Villa boos disappoint Downing

Charlie Adam then had a chance when he waltzed into the area but, with Shelvey in the clear to his left, the Scottish midfielder opted for a shot and it was deflected wide.

It would not prove costly, however, as McLeish's side failed to create another real chance and Dalglish got his first win away at Villa as Liverpool manager on his seventh attempt.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (5)

Aston Villa

  • 22 Guzan
  • 02 Hutton
  • 03 Warnock
  • 05 Dunne
  • 06 Collins
  • 10 N'Zogbia Booked
  • 12 Albrighton
  • 16 Delph (Weimann - 80' )
  • 19 Petrov
  • 14 Delfouneso
  • 18 Heskey (Bannan - 56' )

Substitutes

  • 33 Marshall
  • 21 Clark
  • 24 Cuellar
  • 25 Bannan
  • 35 Johnson
  • 26 Weimann
  • 36 Burke

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina
  • 02 Johnson
  • 03 Jose Enrique
  • 05 Agger
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 14 Henderson
  • 19 Downing
  • 26 Adam Booked
  • 33 Shelvey (Carragher - 83' )
  • 07 Suarez (Carroll - 73' )
  • 39 Bellamy Booked (Kuyt - 88' )

Substitutes

  • 32 Doni
  • 16 Coates
  • 23 Carragher
  • 34 Kelly
  • 11 Maxi
  • 09 Carroll
  • 18 Kuyt
Ref: Walton
Att: 37,460

Match Stats

Shots

16 19

On target

8 12

Corners

4 10

Fouls

5 14

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:10 Full time

Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.

90:00 +2:49

The referee blows for offside. Bradley Guzan takes the indirect free kick.

90:00 +1:14

Centre by Nathan Delfouneso.

90:00 +0:08

Dirk Kuyt delivers the ball.

89:22

Barry Bannan has an effort at goal from 20 yards. Sanchez Jose Enrique gets a block in.

88:46

Unfair challenge on Alan Hutton by Charlie Adam results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Barry Bannan.

87:31 Substitution

Substitution (Liverpool) makes a substitution, with Dirk Kuyt coming on for Craig Bellamy.

87:20

Shot by Barry Bannan from outside the area goes high over the crossbar.

86:49

The ball is delivered by Marc Albrighton, clearance made by Martin Skrtel.

85:31

Charles N'Zogbia delivers the ball, Sanchez Jose Enrique gets a block in.

82:18 Substitution

Substitution Jamie Carragher comes on in place of Jonjo Shelvey.

82:07

Shot on goal by Jonjo Shelvey from just inside the area goes over the target.

80:01

The referee blows for offside against Andy Carroll. James Collins restarts play with the free kick.

79:02 Substitution

Substitution Andreas Weimann comes on in place of Fabian Delph.

77:33

Foul by Charles N'Zogbia on Sanchez Jose Enrique, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Jose Reina.

75:08

Martin Skrtel concedes a free kick for a foul on Stiliyan Petrov. Free kick taken by Barry Bannan.

74:34

Inswinging corner taken by Barry Bannan, Daniel Agger manages to make a clearance.

74:20

Shot from 25 yards by Marc Albrighton. Daniel Agger gets a block in.

74:01

The ball is swung over by Alan Hutton, Martin Skrtel manages to make a clearance.

73:27

Glen Johnson challenges Marc Albrighton unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Marc Albrighton from left wing, Daniel Agger manages to make a clearance.

72:51 Substitution

Substitution Andy Carroll replaces Luis Suarez.

72:06

Marc Albrighton produces a cross, Charlie Adam manages to make a clearance.

71:48

Free kick awarded for a foul by Sanchez Jose Enrique on Alan Hutton. Stiliyan Petrov takes the free kick.

68:07

The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Richard Dunne.

65:36

Nathan Delfouneso gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Charlie Adam. Daniel Agger restarts play with the free kick.

65:08

Shot from outside the box by Jonjo Shelvey goes wide right of the target.

63:40

Foul by Luis Suarez on Richard Dunne, free kick awarded. Richard Dunne restarts play with the free kick.

62:38

Nathan Delfouneso is ruled offside. Jose Reina takes the indirect free kick.

60:46

Corner from left by-line taken by Craig Bellamy.

60:29

Corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing, Alan Hutton manages to make a clearance.

60:16

Shot from 18 yards from Charlie Adam. Blocked by Stephen Warnock.

60:02

Shot by Jonjo Shelvey. Save by Bradley Guzan.

58:25

Close range strike by Craig Bellamy goes over the bar.

58:01

Luis Suarez has an effort at goal from inside the penalty area that bounces off the post.

57:47

The ball is sent over by Barry Bannan, save by Jose Reina.

57:36

Corner taken short by Barry Bannan.

57:19

Fabian Delph has an effort at goal. Martin Skrtel gets a block in.

56:36

Effort on goal by Charles N'Zogbia from 20 yards. Comfortable save by Jose Reina.

56:00 Substitution

Substitution Emile Heskey goes off and Barry Bannan comes on.

55:46

Effort on goal by Stewart Downing from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.

53:46

Jordan Henderson sends in a cross, Alan Hutton makes a clearance.

51:40

Craig Bellamy challenges Alan Hutton unfairly and gives away a free kick. Alan Hutton restarts play with the free kick.

51:22

Stewart Downing takes a short corner.

50:34

Corner taken right-footed by Craig Bellamy to the near post, James Collins makes a clearance.

50:18

Shot from 20 yards by Glen Johnson. Save made by Bradley Guzan.

50:10

Centre by Craig Bellamy, clearance made by Stiliyan Petrov.

48:36

Unfair challenge on Craig Bellamy by Stiliyan Petrov results in a free kick. Sanchez Jose Enrique takes the free kick.

47:29

Richard Dunne fouled by Luis Suarez, the ref awards a free kick. Richard Dunne takes the free kick.

46:48

Shot by Luis Suarez from 6 yards.

45:52

Craig Bellamy crosses the ball, Header from deep inside the area by Daniel Agger goes over the bar.

45:01

The referee gets the second half started.

45:00 +2:07 Half time

Half Time The first half comes to an end.

43:50

A cross is delivered by Glen Johnson.

41:35

Foul by Nathan Delfouneso on Charlie Adam, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.

40:50

Centre by Alan Hutton.

40:29

Marc Albrighton produces a cross, Martin Skrtel makes a clearance.

39:22

Shot by Charlie Adam. Blocked by Alan Hutton.

37:25

Corner taken by Marc Albrighton played to the near post.

36:55

Jonjo Shelvey takes a shot. Save made by Bradley Guzan.

36:32

Charlie Adam crosses the ball, clearance made by Emile Heskey.

35:48

Jonjo Shelvey takes a shot. Save by Bradley Guzan. Corner taken right-footed by Craig Bellamy to the near post, clearance made by Stiliyan Petrov.

34:50

Stiliyan Petrov has shot on goal from a long way out that goes wide left.

34:31

Stephen Warnock fouled by Glen Johnson, the ref awards a free kick. Richard Dunne takes the indirect free kick.

33:00

Shot by Stiliyan Petrov. Save made by Jose Reina.

32:34

Unfair challenge on Fabian Delph by Jonjo Shelvey results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Stephen Warnock.

29:50

Marc Albrighton sends in a cross, Header from close range by Nathan Delfouneso clears the bar.

29:50 Booking

Booking The referee cautions Craig Bellamy for unsporting behaviour.

29:42

Free kick awarded for a foul by Craig Bellamy on Alan Hutton.

27:42

Centre by Stiliyan Petrov, Emile Heskey takes a shot. Save made by Jose Reina.

27:42 Booking

Booking The referee shows Charlie Adam a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

27:39

Free kick awarded for a foul by Charlie Adam on Emile Heskey.

26:44

Free kick awarded for a foul by Charlie Adam on Charles N'Zogbia. Free kick taken by Alan Hutton.

26:11

Corner taken by Craig Bellamy from the left by-line played to the near post, Alan Hutton makes a clearance.

26:03

The ball is delivered by Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph makes a clearance.

25:42

Luis Suarez takes a shot. Stephen Warnock gets a block in. Stewart Downing decides to take the corner short.

25:12

Corner taken by Stewart Downing, clearance by Stephen Warnock.

22:39

Charles N'Zogbia produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the target.

22:24

The ball is swung over by Stewart Downing, clearance by Marc Albrighton.

22:07

Fabian Delph takes a shot. Martin Skrtel gets a block in.

22:02

Marc Albrighton crosses the ball, clearance made by Daniel Agger.

20:08

Effort on goal by Charles N'Zogbia from outside the box goes harmlessly over the bar.

19:25

Nathan Delfouneso takes a shot. Blocked by Glen Johnson. Corner taken short by Marc Albrighton. Marc Albrighton produces a cross, Jordan Henderson manages to make a clearance.

18:49

Handball decision goes against Charlie Adam. Free kick taken by Stiliyan Petrov.

18:16

The ball is sent over by Charles N'Zogbia, save made by Jose Reina.

16:49

Stewart Downing handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Richard Dunne takes the indirect free kick.

14:21

Assist by Craig Bellamy.

14:21 Goal scored

Goal! - Martin Skrtel - A Villa 0 - 2 Liverpool Martin Skrtel finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close range. Aston Villa 0-2 Liverpool.

13:46

The ball is swung over by Craig Bellamy, James Collins manages to make a clearance. Craig Bellamy takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post,

12:27

Free kick crossed left-footed by Charlie Adam from right wing, Stiliyan Petrov makes a clearance.

12:27 Booking

Booking Booking for Charles N'Zogbia.

12:18

Free kick awarded for a foul by Charles N'Zogbia on Glen Johnson.

10:02

Assist by Luis Suarez.

10:02 Goal scored

Goal! - Craig Bellamy - A Villa 0 - 1 Liverpool Craig Bellamy fires in a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool.

9:40

Stewart Downing sends in a cross, blocked by Stephen Warnock. Stewart Downing takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post. Jonjo Shelvey takes a shot. Luis Suarez gets a block in. Luis Suarez takes a shot. Bradley Guzan makes a save.

8:28

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Charles N'Zogbia by Glen Johnson. Stephen Warnock takes the free kick.

7:50

The ball is swung over by Marc Albrighton, Emile Heskey takes a shot. Save made by Jose Reina.

7:23

The assistant referee flags for offside against Luis Suarez. James Collins takes the indirect free kick.

6:52

Stewart Downing takes a shot. Save made by Bradley Guzan.

3:06

The ball is sent over by Nathan Delfouneso, clearance made by Daniel Agger.

2:12

The official flags Luis Suarez offside. Bradley Guzan takes the free kick.

0:58

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nathan Delfouneso by Charlie Adam. Stiliyan Petrov produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick, save by Jose Reina.

0:00

The match has kicked off.

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