Steven Gerrard scored a deadball hat-trick as Liverpool stormed to within one point of leaders Manchester United at the head of the Barclays Premier League.
Aston Villa were swept aside, with Dirk Kuyt and Albert Riera getting the show on the road before Gerrard took over.
His first goal was a penalty after Riera had been felled in the box, and the second an edge of the area free-kick. The third for Gerrard was another penalty, when Brad Friedel was sent-off for bringing down Fernando Torres as he raced onto a Xabi Alonso through-ball.
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