Liverpool suffered their first defeat of the season in sensational circumstances tonight, Jurgen Klopp’s side losing 7-2 away to Aston Villa.
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.
Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 4, 2020
The reigning Premier League champions did pull 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 afterwards Reds boss Klopp credited Villa for an excellent display and made no excuses for the uncharacteristically poor performance his own side served up.
“Yes [I can believe it] I saw it. So it is easy to believe because I was here. First of all you have to say that Villa did very well. They were very physical, very smart and very direct, we were not,” Klopp told BBC Sport.
“We had big chances which we did not use, but when you concede seven I’m not sure you can say it would have been 7-7. We made too many mistakes and massive ones obviously. It started with the first goal and around the goals we made massive mistakes.
“We lost balls in the wrong area and did not protect properly. It looked like we lost the plot after it went to 1-0. It is not an excuse. Normally you can be 1-0 down and do the stuff you want to do. We created but did not protect ourselves properly so each ball we lost was a massive counter-attack.
“That is why we conceded and three goals were deflected. It’s unlucky but it is not a coincidence because it means it was not a proper block. There is nobody to blame apart from me and us.”