Former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier returned to Anfield with Aston Villa and left with a 3-0 defeat as the Reds comfortably claimed three points to continue their climb up the table. Goals from David Ngog, Ryan Babel and Maxi Rodriguez sent Liverpool up to eighth in the league, their highest of the campaign so far.
The visitor's had only won once in the league against Liverpool in 17 attempts and there was little chance that miserable record would end at a sub-zero Anfield.
Two goals in the opening 16 minutes effectively sealed Houllier's fate as Ngog with a header then Babel with a shot put Roy Hodgson's team in command - a position they rarely looked like relinquishing.
Rodriguez ended the game as a spectacle with a third just after the break after which it was damage limitation for Villa who have now just two wins in their last twelve games.
Houllier received a warm welcome from the Anfield faithful he served so well for six years but that does not alter the fact his current team are 16th in the Premier League, just two points clear of the bottom three.
Referee: Phil Dowd
Venue: Anfield Attendance: 39,079
LIVERPOOL 25 Reina 02 G Johnson 03 Konchesky 16 Kyrgiakos (Kelly 83) 37 Skrtel 04 Raul Meireles 17 Maxi (Aurelio 76) 21 Lucas 18 Kuyt (Cole 80) 19 Babel 24 Ngog
Substitutes 01 Jones, 06 Aurelio, 34 Kelly, 10 Cole, 28 C Poulsen, 33 Shelvey, 14 Jovanovic
ASTON VILLA 01 Friedel 02 L Young 03 Warnock 05 Dunne 21 Clark (yellow card) (Delfouneso 46) 29 Collins 06 Downing 09 Ireland 12 Albrighton (Pires 65) 28 Hogg 11 Agbonlahor (Carew 66)
Substitutes 22 Guzan, 24 Cuellar, 30 Lichaj, 08 Pires, 31 Herd, 10 Carew, 14 Delfouneso