Football

Gerrard nets treble in Reds rout

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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.

The game got off to a blistering start, and after eight minutes Liverpool were ahead.

Alonso's header from Gerrard's free-kick cracked against the bar, and Kuyt reacted quickest to blast the ball home from 12 yards.

After 33 minutes Liverpool claimed a second when Reina's 80-yard clearance was allowed to bounce once on the edge of the area by a Villa defence pre-occupied with Torres and Riera took advantage by smashing the dropping ball high into the net.

The third was not long coming. After 39 minutes Riera controlled a searching crossfield pass from Kuyt, and was brought down in the box by Nigel Reo-Coker. Gerrard smashed home the spot-kick.

Any thoughts of a Villa revival were crushed after 50 minutes when Carlos Cuellar brought down Kuyt on the edge of the box and Gerrard drilled the free-kick low to Friedel's left and into the bottom corner.

Things got worse for Villa after 63 minutes when Friedel was dismissed for clashing with Torres and Gerrard drilled home the fifth past Villa's reserve keeper Brad Guzan.

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Topics:
Brad Guzan
Football
Nigel Reo-Coker
Premier League
Carlos Cuellar
Xabi Alonso
Fernando Torres
Manchester United
Brad Friedel
Dirk Kuyt
Steven Gerrard
Aston Villa
Liverpool

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