Liverpool’s 100pc start to the Premier League was brought to an abrupt end at Villa Park as the Reds were played off the pitch and on the receiving end a of thrashing by Dean Smith’s well drilled and brave Aston Villa side.
Jürgen Klopp was forced into making two changes to the side that triumphed 3-1 over Arsenal in the last Premier League fixture. Adrian came in for the injured Alisson, with Jota replacing Sadio Mané on the left wing after the Senegalese sideman tested positive for Covid-19.
The Reds had the worst possible start to the game, going 1-0 down within the opening five minutes following yet another distribution error from Adrian.
The backup keeper looked to play it wide, however, the Spaniard dragged his attempted pass wide of Joe Gomez and into the path of Jack Grealish who had Ollie Watkins in support. Grealish found his striker in acres of space, with the new Villa arrival having time to set himself and slot it beyond Adrian and into the corner. 1-0.
The goal seemed to shake Liverpool awake who after a sloppy start began to string together some passes and put pressure on the Villa back line.
This pressure resulted in two golden opportunities for Firmino to draw the Merseysiders level, with Emiliano Martinez denying the Brazilian on a 1-on-1, before hesitation seemed to get the better of Liverpool’s No.9 as he found himself in front of goal but opted against shooting which proved to be the wrong decision.
The missed chances proved costly for Liverpool as Watkins again punished Liverpool to make it 2-0 in the 23rd minute.
The English striker was released in behind and easily beat Gomez as he cut in on his stronger right foot. Watkins set himself and wrapped his foot round the ball on the edge of the area, powering the ball passed a helpless Adrian and into the far top corner.
Liverpool, who continued to find joy down the left flank, reacted quickly to going two goals down and had the ball in the back of the net through Salah in the 32nd minute to make it 2-1.
A ball in behind by Gini Wijnaldum found Jota who entered the Villa box unchallenged. The Portuguese international played a low cross in towards Naby Keita who struggled to control it, however, fortunately for the Reds the ball found its way to Salah who dispatched it powerfully passed Martinez.
Liverpool’s resurgence didn’t last long as three minutes later the ball was in the back of Adrians’ net again John McGinn’s effort took a wicked deflection off of Virgil Van Dijk to make it 3-1.
Almost as quickly as Villa went 3-1 up they had themselves a fourth as Watkins sealed his hat-trick, becoming the first player since Dimitar Berbatov to do so against Liverpool.
A well worked free-kick found Trezeguet free at the back post. The Egyptian international powered the ball across the face of goal finding Watkins completely unmarked in the middle, with the former Brentford man arrowing his header downwards to claim the hat-trick before half-time.
The second half didn’t see things improve from a Liverpool perspective as Villa had a fifth within minutes through ex-Evertonian Ross Barkley.
Gomez lost possession in the heart of Liverpool’s half with Villa switching the ball between Jack Grealish and Barkley. The former Everton man picked up possession on the edge of the Liverpool area, and unpressured, set himself for a shot with deflected off of Trent Alexander-Arnold and dipped over Adrian to make it 5-1.
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Despite the scoreline the Reds did in fact react well and managed to get another goal back again through Salah in the 60th minute.
Played through by Firmino, the Egyptian took the ball in his stride, standing up Tyrone Mings before dispatching it calmly and powerfully into the bottom right hand corner of Martinez’ net. 5-2.
As was the case in the first half, the fight back was short lived as Villa again had it in the back of the net, by way of a wicked deflection, courtesy of Jack Grealish. The England international cut in and looked to switch play only to see his cross deflect off of Fabinho and into the back of the net. 6-2.
Villa continued to press their advantage and yet again had the ball in the back of the net through Grealish as he made it 7 for his hometown club.
Put through on goal from within his own half, the Aston Villa captain carried the ball and stood up Adrian, dinking the ball over Liverpool’s back-up keeper with a swagger and confidence that was deserved given the result. 7-2.
As the game ticked on the Reds continued to look toothless while Aston Villa pressed their advantage. Smith’s side looked like scoring with every subsequent attack, with Liverpool being somewhat more fortunate that the lead wasn’t increased further.
The Reds are back in action on October 17th when they will be hoping to have sorted out their defence as they take on Carlo Ancelotti’s on fire Everton side at Goodison Park.