LIVERPOOL'S dismal Premier League run continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw by a depleted Aston Villa side at Anfield.
A point, which was secured courtesy of Luis Suarez's late header, at least stopped the rot following three straight defeats but it was another desperately disappointing afternoon for Kenny Dalglish's side.
It means the Reds have now won just two out of 13 league games since the turn of the year and they remain eighth in the table.
Liverpool paid the price for a sloppy start during which Chris Herd fired the visitors in front.
They improved to dominate the second half but a combination of the woodwork and the heroics of Shay Given denied them prior to Suarez's strike.
Alexander Doni made his debut in goal as Pepe Reina started a three-match ban following his dismissal in the defeat at Newcastle six days earlier.
Dalglish made a further three changes in the wake of that setback with Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Dirk Kuyt all returning to the side. Jay Spearing, Craig Bellamy and Andy Carroll were the players to make way.
The Reds threatened early on with Downing the creator against his former club. The winger raced past Alan Hutton and his cross picked out Kuyt at the back post.
The Dutchman's strike was parried on to the post by Given and the danger was cleared.
Villa were missing a host of senior players and arrived on the back of just one win in nine games.
However, they stunned the Kop by grabbing the lead in the 10th minute.
Doni flapped at Stephen Warnock's cross and Barry Bannan teed up Herd who curled a shot past the debutant from 10 yards.
With confidence so brittle after recent results, the goal deflated the hosts and they struggled to summon a response.
Suarez had claims for a penalty waved away after the ball appeared to strike Herd on the hand.
For all their possession there were a desperate lack of quality to Liverpool's passing and Villa were rarely troubled.
In fact James Collins could have piled on the misery midway through the first half but nodded wide from a corner.
Anfield was eerily quiet as the Reds continued to toil. Skrtel nodded narrowly wide at the far post from Gerrard's corner before Henderson lashed his effort from the edge of the box high over the bar.
Liverpool finally got some momentum going before the break but couldn't find a way through.
Hutton appeared to trip Suarez in the box after he burst on to Kuyt's pass but referee Michael Oliver turned down appeals for a spot-kick.
Kuyt should have equalised soon after when he latched on to Gerrard's cross-shot but he somehow blazed over from three yards.
On the stroke of half-time Suarez worked his way into space but his left footer was straight at Given.
The Uruguayan continued to provide Liverpool's most potent threat and nine minutes into the second half was cursing his luck once again.
Suarez met Gerrard's cross with a glancing header which left Given beaten. However, it bounced back off the inside of the post and the keeper showed remarkable reactions to claw it off the line.
Kuyt then sliced wide after being teed up by Gerrard's backheel.
On 65 minutes Dalglish rung the changes with Carroll and Bellamy replacing Downing and Jonjo Shelvey.
Villa were pinned back but after the referee turned down more penalty appeals after Eric Lichaj appeared to handle the Reds got increasingly desperate.
With 14 minutes to go Daniel Agger made his return from injury in place of Jose Enrique.
Suarez was harshly booked for diving before Bellamy's fierce drive struck the outside of the post.
Finally, in the 82nd minute Liverpool were level. Agger's thumping header from a Gerrard cross came back off the bar and Suarez was on hand to nod home from close range.
The Reds could have won it at the death but some glorious chances went begging.
Agger and Carroll both nodded over before Carroll connected with Gerrard's cross six yards out but headed straight at Given.
Then in stoppage time Gerrard's piledriver was pushed away by the keeper and the Reds couldn't put away the follow up.