Belfast Telegraph

Suarez rescues Reds a point

Luis Suarez's late header prevented a fourth successive league defeat but it only served to paper over the cracks of another faltering Liverpool performance as they drew 1-1 with Aston Villa.

The Reds went into the game on the back of six losses in seven matches, their worst sequence for almost 60 years, and with criticism mounting on both the players and manager Kenny Dalglish.

Fragile confidence was eroded further when Chris Herd put the visitors ahead early on but a much-needed win for the midlanders, for whom relegation worries have been growing, proved beyond them.

Liverpool's anxiety and uncertainty was not helped by goalkeeper Doni, having to make his debut in place of the suspended Jose Reina - ending a run of 183 successive league appearances.

The Brazilian failed his first test and it proved expensive as he flapped at Stephen Warnock's left-wing cross in the 10th minute, allowing Barry Bannan to cut the ball back for the unmarked Australian Herd to bend in a shot.

However, Liverpool would have been ahead by then had it not been for the reactions of the experienced Shay Given who clawed Dirk Kuyt's shot off the line.

The Dutchman wasted a glorious chance just before the break from Steven Gerrard's cross-shot but he ballooned over from five yards before Suarez fired straight at Given.

Gerrard's 53rd-minute cross picked out Suarez whose header beat Given but bounced off the far post.

The woodwork was struck again in the 82nd minute but this time it actually benefited Liverpool.

Gerrard's cross from the right saw substitute Daniel Agger plant a header against the underside of the bar but when the ball bounced down Suarez was on hand to nod in.

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