‘We fancied ourselves today’ – Hat-trick hero Watkins reacts as Villa smash seven past sloppy Liverpool

Aston Villa maintained their perfect start to the season by sensationally beating Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side 7-2 tonight at Villa Park.

Dean Smith’s Villains got off to the perfect start with just four minutes on the clock, £28 million summer signing Ollie Watkins firing home from close range after a misplaced pass by Liverpool keeper Adrian was pounced upon by Jack Grealish.

After 22 minutes the former Brentford man brilliantly put the home side into an unexpected 2-0 lead, Watkins driving down the left flank before cutting in past Joe Gomez and firing a thunderous effort into the top corner.

Liverpool struck back 10 minutes later through Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian attacker hammering home from eight yards for his 100th goal in English football.

Just a couple of minutes later and Aston Villa would regain their two-nil lead, a John McGinn volley from 25 yards out deflected off Virgil Van Dijk and flew past the hapless Adrian.

Villa and Watkins’ dream start didn’t end there though, the 24-year-old heading home from close range after a well-worked free-kick.

Most observers expected Liverpool to come flying out of the traps after the break, but that never materialised, and on 55 minutes it would be Villa who would score again, former Evertonian Ross Barkley seeing his deflected effort from the edge of the area looping into the corner of the net.

The reigning Premier League champions pulled one back on the hour mark, Salah once again finishing clinically after being slipped through by Roberto Firmino.

Any hopes of Liverpool staging a famous comeback were soon dashed though and once again Villa would benefit from a fortuitous deflection, Jack Grealish’s strike hitting off Fabinho to wrong foot Adrian and find its way into the near corner.

On 75 minutes and somewhat unbelievably, Villa would hit their seventh, Grealish racing clear of Liverpool’s high line and nonchalantly finishing past Adrian.

Speaking after the game, hat-trick hero Watkins revealed that he and his teammates had fancied their chances of getting in behind the Reds high line, although admitted that his side scoring seven times was not something he expected.

“I think when the first one went in I pinched myself a bit because of how early it was. I’m delighted to contribute and that we won at the end of the day,” Watkins told Sky Sports.

“It’s unbelievable to score and get a hat-trick, before the game I wouldn’t have thought that I’d score three. After the first one I grew in confidence, but I probably should have scored more than three in the end. I’d back myself to score some of the chances that I missed.

“We saw how high they play and the game plan was to get in behind and you could see that it worked. We fancied ourselves today but I’m not sure we thought it would have been that score. It was more about making sure they couldn’t pass through us and we all worked hard and it showed tonight.”

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