Lambert, Borini both score as Liverpool gets 2-0 win over Aston Villa
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert scored to give Liverpool a 2-0 victory at Aston Villa on Saturday that kept the team in touch with the European places in the Premier League.
Borini volleyed in a cross from Jordan Henderson for his first league goal of the season in the 24th minute, and Lambert doubled the lead with a low strike from the edge of the area in the 79th. It was Liverpool's third straight away victory in the league, and Brendan Rodgers' team is seventh, two points behind fifth-place Tottenham.
Villa was booed off the pitch as the hosts extended their winless streak to seven games and have gone nearly nine hours without scoring. The team has scored just 11 goals in 22 league games and sit 14th, three points outside the relegation zone.
Martin Skrtel also hit the post while Christian Benteke and Nathan Baker missed decent chances for the hosts.
Steven Gerrard failed to recover from a hamstring injury with Raheem Sterling back after his planned winter break in Jamaica.
Liverpool took the lead when Borini netted his first goal for the club since April 2013. Jordan Henderson was allowed time to cross and, after pulling away from Jores Okore, Borini volleyed in at the far post.
Sterling should have made it 2-0 eight minutes before the break but wasted a great chance when Lucas' header put him clean through and he could only chip weakly at Guzan.
Villa offered little going forward although the previously anonymous Tom Cleverley fired over after Ashley Westwood's pass.
Villa almost leveled in the 61st when Simon Mignolet parried Benteke's 10-yard volley.
Borini blasted over two minutes later but Liverpool was being pinned back by a revitalized Villa as Baker headed over and then produced an air shot from just six yards.
But the hosts were left to rue the misses when Lambert sealed Liverpool's victory with 11 minutes left.
Sterling received the ball on the edge of the box and he found Lambert, whose fine touch took him away from Carlos Sanchez before he drilled into the corner.