Liverpool slumped to their second defeat in three opening games and their first home defeat since December 2007.
After suffering just two defeats in the whole of last season, Rafa Benitez’s side have huge question marks over their season already.
Villa were two up by half-time courtesy of two more goals from set-pieces. The first arrived in the shape of a Lucas own-goal from an Ashley Young free-kick, the second a header from Curtis Davies off a corner on the stroke of half-time.
Liverpool complained about the award of the corner but the referee made the correct decision, then Benitez complained about the time added on but that was due to Reina protesting the corner award and being booked for kicking the ball away in frustration.
Frustration was apparent all around Anfield; on the pitch and in the stands.
The second half started much brighter and when Insua found Torres to make it 2-1 it looked like a comeback could be on.
But a rush of blood to the head of Gerrard saw him foul Reo-Coker in the box and Young coolly dispatched the penalty to make it 3-1.
Benitez’s pre-match comments about wanting to perform better than in the 5-0 win against Villa back in April came back to haunt him tonight and no doubt gave the Villa players added incentive.
Sky Sports; Villa rock Reds at Anfield
The Guardian: Liverpool fortress falls to Martin O’Neill’s marauding Aston Villa
Independent: Lucas gift sparks Liverpool implosion
Goals: Lucas (og) 34, Davies 45+2, Torres 72, Young (pen) 75
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Insua, Mascherano, Lucas (Voronin 66), Kuyt, Gerrard, Benayoun (Babel 77), Torres
Subs not used: Cavalieri, Riera, Kelly, Dossena, Ayala
Booked: Reina, Torres, Skrtel
Aston Villa: Friedel, Beye, Davies, Cuellar, Shorey, Milner, Sidwell, Petrov, Reo-Coker, A Young (Heskey 80), Agbonlahor
Subs: Guzan, Albrighton, Delfouneso, Delph, Gardner, Lowry
Booked: Young, Reo-Coker
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)