Aston Villa were in dreamland last night when they crushed Premier League Champions 7-2 at Villa Park in a game that will be remembered for a long time. Some Villa fans felt a little confident when news broke that Jurgen Klopp’s men were missing both Alisson Becker and Sadio Mané but nobody could have predicted what was about to happen.
Dean Smith made one change from the side that beat Fulham a week before as new loan signing Ross Barkley replaced a very unlucky Conor Hourihane in the starting line-up.
Villa got off to a bright start at Villa Park as Liverpool looked sluggish and didn’t show their usual high press. The first chance came through Matty Cash who crossed the ball for fellow summer signing Ollie Watkins but the striker couldn’t get on the end of it.
Just a few minutes later, however, Watkins did make Liverpool’s defence pay. Stand-in goalkeeper Adrian overhit a pass intended for Gomez but Jack Grealish stole the ball. The Captain then squared it for Watkins for him to score his first Premier League goal.
Villa should have made it two through Barkley. Trent Alexander-Arnold miss judged a goal kick from Emiliano Martínez, Grealish was away, passed it into Barkley but he could only watch on as his effort when desperately wide.
Liverpool started to grow into the game and they could have made Villa regret not taking their early chances but Bobby Firminio could only hit his effort straight at Martinez who parred the ball out and Ezri Konsa sent the ball out for a corner.
Villa did double their lead on 22. Grealish, once again involved, set Watkins away down the left. The striker then cut inside before firing a right-footed effort into the top corner.
Salah gets Liverpool back in the game
Liverpool’s biggest threat came through former Wolves man Diogo Jota. First, he fired a volley straight at Martinez and then he went for a chip but the former Arsenal goalkeeper was able to tip it over the bar.
Just before the half-hour mark, once again Barkley could have scored and made it 3-0. Grealish fed the on-loan Chelsea midfielder who was able to hold off Virgil van Dijk but once again his finish just went wide of the post.
Villa did look like they would regret those chances when Mo Salah did get Liverpool back in the game. Jota opened up Villa down the right, crossed the ball low to Naby Keïta, whose blocked shot fell for Salah to smash home.
Villa had other ideas
It wasn’t going to be Liverpool’s day and even Liverpool supporting commentator Jamie Carragher commented that Villa looked like scoring every time they attacked.
First, Barkley came close yet again but was denied by Adrian’s legs. The England international could have had a hat-trick by now.
Then, John McGinn gave Villa their two-goal lead. Villa’s corner was cleared to the edge of the box and fell to the Scot whose volley deflected off van Dijk and in, leaving the Liverpool keeper wrong-footed.
Villa were really in dreamland just a few minutes later when they made it four. van Dijk brought down Barkley as he tried to race into the Liverpool half. Barkley swung the resulting free-kick behind Liverpool’s high line and it ran through to Trezeguet. The Egyptian’s powerful cross found Watkins who headed home to complete the perfect hat-trick.
It was a crazy first-half but Villa deserved it all even if Sky Sports and Liverpool pundit Graeme Souness became sour by saying the grass on the pitch was too long.
The craziness continues
Just when you couldn’t quite believe what you witness in the first half, the second half wasn’t too be much different.
Villa made it 5-1 on 55 minutes. Barkley finally got the goal he deserved when his shot from the edge of the area deflected off Alexander-Arnold into the far corner.
Liverpool pulled one back five minutes later through Salah. Villa switched off a little and enabled Salah to break through and make it 5-2.
Six minutes later Villa made scored their sixth of the evening. Another deflected goal but this time it was Grealish’s turn who already had three assists to his name. His shot hit Fabinho and once again left Adrian in no man’s land.
The captain finished the on-slaught on 72 minutes. McGinn found Grealish who cleverly dinked it past Adrian to make it SEVEN. The first time Villa had scored seven since their 1-7 win over Wimbledon in 1995.
Watkins came close to making it 8 but could only watch on as his effort smashed off the crossbar.
Villa’s results have been dismissed so far saying how poor the other sides were but surely this one can’t be overlooked. Villa will have harder games this season but let’s enjoy this one over the International break.
Video courtesy of avfc.co.uk
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