Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Fernando Torres struck in stoppage time to give Liverpool a desperately needed 1-0 win at Aston Villa in the Premier League on Tuesday.
A flat game was heading for a goalless draw until ragged Villa defending allowed the ball to slip into Torres's path and he calmly placed a low shot beyond Brad Friedel.
The Spaniard's predatory finish was his 50th league goal in 72 matches -- the quickest a Liverpool player has reached that tally - and was the only memorable moment from a poor game.
The win lifts Liverpool into seventh place on 33 points -- one place and two points behind Villa.
Chelsea top the standings with 45 points from 20 games. Manchester United, who host Wigan Athletic on Wednesday, are second on 40 from 19 with Arsenal third on 38 from 18 ahead of their game at Portsmouth, also on Wednesday.
Villa and Liverpool, their players perhaps chilled by relentless snow, were below par in a low-key contest.
Villa, having beaten Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United this season, were denied a big four clean sweep by Sunday's 3-0 loss at Arsenal and that perhaps had a chastening effect as they were cautious from the start on Tuesday.
Aston Villa: Friedel, Luke Young, Cuellar, Dunne, Warnock, Reo-Coker (Albrigthon 72'), Milner, Petrov, Downing (Sidwell 79'), Agbonlahor, Carew.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson (Skrtel 88'), Carragher, Agger, Insua, Kuyt, Lucas, Aquilani (Babel 77'), Benayoun (Aurelio 93'), Gerrard, Torres.