Brendan Rodgers praised the clinical finishing of two-goal Daniel Sturridge and the contribution of James Milner as captain after Liverpool claimed three points by beating Aston Villa on Saturday.

“It was a really good performance in terms of the creativity and effort the players put into the game,” Rodgers said in his postgame press conference. “I thought they were absolutely outstanding. It was a really good win for us.

“The last time we scored three goals was when (Sturridge) started the game against Tottenham here.

“If you’re going to compete at the top of the table, you need to have big quality, and we have got some very good players here. But Daniel Sturridge has shown over his time here that he is a really top talent. And when you miss that type of quality out of your team, you can suffer for it.

“I thought he was outstanding today. He is probably disappointed he didn’t have a hat-trick, but his overall game and touch and two finishes were outstanding.

“And he showed a great combination with young Danny Ings, who obviously didn’t get a goal today but I thought he played his part up top with Daniel.

“They showed that understanding that good players do. Both can run in behind, both can come short and they pressed the game well. It was very good.”

The result ended Liverpool’s wait for a first victory since Bournemouth were defeated at Anfield last month and moved Rodgers’ side up to seventh in the Premier League table.

Having attempted 70 shots across the previous two home clashes, with Norwich City and Carlisle United, 21 efforts were recorded against Villa.

“I think it’s a good performance, (but) we can’t get carried away,” Rodgers reflected. “We played well but we’ve played well gradually.

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