#Aston Villa 0 #Liverpool 2
Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert were the slightly unusual heroes for Liverpool as they gained another priceless three points in their pursuit of the top four places in the #Premier League. With Daniel Sturridge still not fully fit to resume his main striker role, Brendan Rodgers continues to tinker with his available options up front and seems to at least be achieving the minimum requirement with who is at his disposal, as goals from Borini and Lambert decided a generally even game in the Reds' favour.
After winning at Anfield in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, manager Paul Lambert would have hoping for a similar result at home. Liverpool welcomed Raheem Sterling back after his extended winter (recuperation) break abroad and did not risk Steven Gerrard's worrying hamstring.
Borini continued his mini run in the Liverpool side after a reasonable performance in the win at Sunderland, by opening the scoring on 24 minutes at Villa Park with a stretching volley from a Jordan Henderson cross, who was captaining the side in Gerrard's absence. The Italian striker, determined to keep his place in the squad after heavy speculation that he would leave last summer, seems to be a decent ally for the work ethic of Rodgers and his first goal since April 2013 for the side was a just reward. He was later to hit the post in the second-half as well, as he seems to have the edge on Mario Balotelli at present.
Lambert's one-time formidable Belgian centre-forward, Christian Benteke fired in a powerful strike on target that Simon Mignolet saved after the break, as Villa found scoring to be their Achilles heel once more. They had a number of opportunities to achieve something from the match, including a missed header and an air shot from Nathan Baker, but their cutting edge seems to have been blunted for now. Indeed, just as they were beginning to look like pegging the Reds back, up popped Rickie Lambert with a well-taken second on 79 minutes to put the match beyond the home side's reach.
In not scoring yet again, the home side are now fast approaching nine hours since they last scored a league goal and they have not won in seven games as a consequence. More concerning may be the threat of worse to come, as they face Arsenal and Chelsea next in the league and sit just three points above the bottom three in the table.Conversely, Liverpool have now only lost once in their last ten league matches, as Rodgers seems at least to be getting something right in what has proved to be a challenging season up to now. They now move on to a tricky two-legged tie in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup against title leaders Chelsea, with the first leg at Anfield on Tuesday evening. How to juggle his personnel around to stem the flow from Jose Mourinho's free-scoring side could prove to be yet another brainteaser, as he looks to make a Wembley final in early March.