The scoreline flattered the visitors, whose goals came from breakaways rather than periods of pressure.
Christian Benteke was the star, firing the first from distance and then another after Andreas Weimann finished a team move at the Kop end.
Steven Gerrard headed a late consolation.
Liverpool went into the game having won three on the spin and began brightly, with Jonjo Shelvey and Raheem Sterling both denied by fine pieces of late defending. Stewart Downing – who was enjoying a cool reception from the travelling fans against his former club – tried his luck from distance. Just wide.
Villa was not impotent — it took clever goalkeeping from Pepe Reina to usher Weimann away from goal in the 17th minute — but Liverpool was certainly on top.
It was a surprise, then, when the visitors found themselves in front after 29 minutes with a moment of inspiration from Benteke, who whacked the ball into the bottom corner from well outside the area.
Luis Suarez powered into the side netting as the Reds sought an instant reply, while Weimann capitalized on a weak back pass from Glen Johnson only to find the roof of the net with his subsequent lob.
Villa’s second came with an incisive breakaway, though Liverpool will be concerned by the lack of challenges in the build up to Weimann’s decisive finish beyond Reina.
Those in red again started well in the second half, both Suarez and Downing forcing saves — but in the 51st minute it was virtually game over as loose play in midfield facilitated another break, which Benteke finished with a cool side-foot into the Anfield Road net.
Joe Cole, who replaced Shelvey at halftime, threatened from distance, while Suarez had a shot from eight yards blocked before both Cole and fellow substitute Jordan Henderson were denied during a goalmouth scramble.
Liverpool was trying everything to mount a comeback and Daniel Agger would have made a start on changing the scoreline but for a decent save from Bradley Guzan.
The game petered out somewhat from there, though Gerrard pinched a consolation with a stooped header to redirect a Johnson shot in the 87th minute.
The Reds will now have to pick themselves up when Fulham visit L4 next weekend ahead of the festive period.
Liverpoolfc.com man of the match: Stewart Downing.
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