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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 August, 2003, 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK
Villa in Liverpool deadlock
Villa's Vassell escapes Carragher

Aston Villa 0-0 Liverpool

Aston Villa and Liverpool are both still waiting for their first win of the season after battling out an entertaining stalemate at Villa Park.

Villa boss David O'Leary will be the happier of the two managers after his side dominated for long periods - but Liverpool also forced several outstanding saves from new goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.

Sorensen denied Liverpool victory with a brilliant late save from John Arne Riise - while Villa also had opportunities to take all three points as they gave a spirited performance.

But the two sides had to be content with picking up their first point having each lost on the opening day.

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier restored El-Hadji Diouf to the starting line-up - and he almost helped create an opener for Harry Kewell after nine minutes.

The Senegal striker forced Sorensen into a fine block, and just as Kewell seemed certain to score from the rebound, the Australian fired hopelessly wide of an open goal.

Sorensen was in action again seven minutes later, diving acrobatically to turn away a 20-yard drive from Danny Murphy.

Villa had also looked dangerous and squandered a great chance to take the lead after 20 minutes.

Juan Pablo Angel was clean through on goal, but took an age and eventually set up Peter Whittingham, whose shot was scrambled off the line by Diouf.

Liverpool's other main threat in he first half came from communication breakdowns between new goalkeeper Sorensen and defender Olof Mellberg.


The Sweden defender twice failed to hear shouts from his keeper, first heading inches wide and then causing mass panic in the Villa penalty area.

Liverpool had a narrow escape after 54 minutes when Diouf lost possession in the danger zone, forcing Jerzy Dudek to race out and clear from Mark Delaney.

And Dudek was the hero two minutes later, diving at the feet of Darius Vassell to rescue Liverpool.

Liverpool were suddenly under the cosh and were fortunate to escape on the hour when Angel's free-kick from 25 yards bounced to safety off an upright.

Houllier sent on Milan Baros for the injured Emile Heskey, and with time running out he tested Sorensen with a right foot volley.

Sorensen had enjoyed an eventful afternoon, and he produced a miraculous save from Riise as he powered a header goalwards from Steven Gerrard's corner.

Aston Villa: Sorensen, Delaney, Mellberg, Johnsen, Samuel, Hendrie (De la Cruz 87), McCann, Barry, Whittingham, Angel (Dublin 89), Vassell.
Subs Not Used: Alpay, Hitzlsperger, Postma.

Liverpool: Dudek, Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Riise, Diouf, Murphy (Biscan 87), Gerrard, Kewell, Heskey (Baros 58), Owen.
Subs Not Used: Finnan, Smicer, Kirkland.

Booked: Diouf.

Attendance: 42,573.

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset).

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"We are not satisfied with a draw"

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