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By ESPN Staff

Rafa rues costly errors following Anfield defeat

Rafa Benitez told ESPN that mistakes at 'crucial times' cost Liverpool following a shock 3-1 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa at Anfield.

The Reds found themselves 2-0 down at half-time after an own goal from Lucas Leiva and a header from Curtis Davies, and while Fernando Torres scored after 72 minutes, Steven Gerrard quickly conceded a penalty to allow Ashley Young to score a third.

Liverpool have now lost two of their opening three Premier League games – the same amount that they lost in the whole of last season – and Benitez was clearly unhappy with a sloppy performance from his side.

"It was a frustrating night because we started well and had our chances,'' he told ESPN. "But we didn't take them, we made one mistake, then in the last minute of the first half another, and when we were on top of them and scored our first goal we made another mistake.

"Important mistakes at crucial times.

"When we scored everything could have been different but there was another mistake and again we needed two goals.''

Reflecting on a first victory of the season for his side, Villa manager Martin O'Neill told ESPN he was 'delighted' with their performance at Anfield.

Villa had started their campaign with defeats at the hands of Wigan and Rapid Vienna but, after securing three points, O'Neill praised his players for what was a resolute display in the face of some sustained second-half pressure from the home side.

"I'm delighted with the performance, I couldn't be more pleased," O'Neill said.

"We put absolutely everything into the game, not just effort but skill and ability.

"We had a sluggish start on the opening day and to come and win here against maybe one of the championship favourites was a terrific effort.

"At 2-0 we seemed in reasonable command of the game, it goes to 2-1 and so we had to react pretty quickly. We got a goal through the penalty - and it was a penalty - and got ourselves back in again. We deserved to win.''

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