Football: Aston Villa down Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield

Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor (centre) scores a goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Liverpool at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England on Sept 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor (centre) scores a goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Liverpool at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England on Sept 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Liverpool crashed to a surprise 1-0 loss at home to Aston Villa on Saturday, Sept 13, 2014, after Chelsea beat Swansea City 4-2 to move clear at the Premier League summit.

Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor scored the only goal at Anfield in the ninth minute, hooking home from close range after Philippe Senderos' header was blocked by Javier Manquillo.

After debutant Adam Lallana and Mario Balotelli shot wide, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers sent Raheem Sterling on, but the closest the hosts came to equalising was a shot from Philippe Coutinho that hit the post.

While Villa - who have not lost at Anfield since December 2010 - remain unbeaten this season, Liverpool have now lost twice, following last month's 3-1 loss at Manchester City, and trail Chelsea by six points.

"I think the players gave everything today," said Rodgers, whose side were missing injured striker Daniel Sturridge. "We just couldn't find that quality in the final third of the field and Aston Villa defended well."

Asked to explain Villa's victory, manager Paul Lambert told Sky Sports: "Just pure hard work."

He added: "It is one of the toughest places to come in Europe, let alone Britain, but I think we deserved the win."

Villa climbed to second, two points behind Chelsea, who came from behind to beat Swansea at Stamford Bridge thanks to a hat-trick by Diego Costa.