“Neither Van Dijk nor Gomez nor the wing-backs nor the rest of the players had the focus and intensity to step up and exhibit the fight against the force named Aston Villa – Jurgen Klopp’s side were ripped apart and crushed”

 

Who could stop Liverpool in the Premier League? Manchester United, Chelsea, Everton of Carlo Ancelotti, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal or the big gun, Manchester City – who? There is nothing to explain how good the Reds have been under Jurgen Klopp and even last week, Mikel Arteta experienced the relentlessness of this magnificent unit and the majority came to the conclusion – it would take the top teams of Premier League dish out one of their best displays to stop Klopp.

Again, this is 2020, and you need to be prepared for the unthinkable. Despite the thrashing of City against the Foxes, Hoffenheim crushing-down the mighty Bayern Munich and West Brom almost taking Chelsea to the cleaners; no one was prepared for the Aston Villa shock.

Before the rout commenced, Jose Mourinho gunned down Manchester United at Old Trafford and became the talk of the media, and in Germany, that man Robert Lewandowski netted four times again in another thrilling encounter in the Bundesliga. The football fans were badly in need to take a breather because at times it is never easy to take so much of drama at a time, but Aston Villa would not let this happen.

The encounter at Villa Park should have been a guaranteed full point for Liverpool and even without some of their regular starters; victory at Villa Park was a sure thing.

The referee blew the whistle and from the word go, Villa asserted themselves with such an aggressive intent that it pressurized the highline defence – who were actually playing better, Liverpool or Villa? It was Villa, to be precise.

The opening goal set the tempo for Villa and it was a personal disaster for Adrian – playing instead of the injured Alisson. He was guilty of playing a loose-pass from his own line straight to Jack Grealish, who worked it back inside for the unmarked Ollie Watkins to finish.

18 minutes later, Watkins scripted an absolute stunner – Grealish threaded him in down the left with an excellent pass and Watkins ran fast leaving Gomez in his wake before firing a rocket of a shot into the top-right corner.

Mohamed Salah reduced the deficit, but Villa did not even bother – McGinn hits a low left-footed volley as a corner is cleared to him at the edge of the area, and the ball deflected off the shin of Virgil van Dijk and past a wrong-footed Adrian.

4 minutes later, Liverpool were all over the place from a deep free-kick, which came to Trezeguet in acres of space on the left and he put in a simple cross. Watkins is one of three players who could turn it in for Villa and he headed home with aplomb.

A hat-trick for the £28m arrival from Brentford – Ollie Watkins.

Villa were 4-1 up at half-time, with Grealish close to unplayable.

Villa went for more in the second half.

Barkley drove his team with the ball at feet and he got the goal he deserved when he took a Grealish pass on the edge of the area, looked up and tried to catch Adrian off his line. His shot flicked up off Trent Alexander-Arnold and sailed into the far corner.

After Salah had pulled one back following a Firmino pass, the excellent Grealish got his goal. It came via another deflection – Villa’s third – this one-off Fabinho but they did not care. They had got into the positions. They had made their own luck.

Grealish got his second with a dinked finish and the closing stages were also notable for Watkins one-on-one against Adrian and hitting the crossbar.

Villa hit the Reds 7 times and have now won three out of three at the start of a top-flight season for the first time since 1962.

Neither was it about that winning streak nor about beating the Reds, but the manner by which Villa destroyed Liverpool, was still amazing and shocking at the same time.

What happened to Liverpool last night?

If anyone says that their defence was sloppy then it would be an understatement.

To be specific they had been rubbish.

Their highline defence missed the services of Alisson, whose ball-playing ability and good work of the feet under pressure always helped Liverpool maintain that highline defence.

Neither Van Dijk nor Gomez nor the wing-backs nor the rest of the players had the focus and intensity to step up and exhibit the fight against the force named Aston Villa – Jurgen Klopp’s side were ripped apart and crushed.

Never under Klopp have they looked so weak, so vulnerable, and so utterly shambolic.

The Red Bird failed to fly because the wings and feet were tied and none could figure how Villa could do that.