Aston Villa continued their perfect start to the Premier League season in style, as Smith’s clergy ruthlessly sent the champions 7-2 on a brilliant night at Villa Park.
The stunned Reds – who had seen their debut 100 percent – tumbled after just four minutes when Olly Watkins took advantage of Adrian’s mistake, before the latter screamingly doubled his tally. Mohamed Salah gave the visitors a lifeline, but John McGinn’s deflected shot put FIA back two goals and he took advantage of Watkins again to make it 4-1.
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Then, Everton fan Ross Barkley saw his shot that veered spectacularly off Trent Alexander-Arnold into the top corner, before Salah’s consolation made the score 5-2.
But Jack Grealish then scored two goals to complete a stunning demolition, with Liverpool experiencing an impressive seven for the first time in club history.
Despite their defensive problems, Liverpool still looked relatively bright going forward and Salah’s clinical double saw Al Masry move after 100 goals in the Premier League.
Jürgen Klopp is celebrating five years at Anfield this week, but all the gifts were given to Villa as Adrian’s poor qualifiers put in place a grim defensive style that saw the Reds score for seven years.
Cradle rating of 10
5 – Although Liverpool were bad from a defensive standpoint, it is difficult to pin much of it on the visibly dazed Klopp and the absence of Alison and Sadio Mane did not help much.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players don’t get a rating after 70 minutes)
GK Adrian, 3 – An unforgivable shot straight to Grealish squared 1-0, although I don’t think Adrian and Alison would have stopped Watkins second in between. A few smart memorization, but a night to forget.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 4 – cWhen you think the young full back might have it all, he’s back on Earth with a bump. The frankly disgusting deflection brought Barclay’s effort into the top corner via the heel of the defender.
DF Joe Gomez, 3 – The English defender made an important intervention to block Trezeguet’s pass quietly from Trezeguet’s cross ten times, but he had no answer for the formidable Watkins he missed.
Virgil defender Van Dyck 3 – Speaking of kicking a man when he falls, the visitor captain took a casual shoe across the face in the first half, before McGinn’s blow cruelly hit the Dutch keeper and past his keeper.
Andrew Robertson, 4 years old In fairness to Adrian, Robertson’s floating pass required two touches of control and put his keeper under unavoidable pressure. He did his best to provide offensive support on the left, but he was part of a weak defensive effort nonetheless.
MF Naby Keita, 5 – He fired two early attempts straight into the bodies of Villa’s defenders when he was likely to be a little better, and was subsequently pulled at the end of the first half.
MF Fabinho 6 – He delivered a nice ball to Naby Keita before easily overcoming two challenges from Villa as the Reds began to move between gears. He became the third unfortunate Liverpool player to throw the ball past his goalkeeper.
MF Jorginho Winaldome, 4 – Usually the glue is in the Liverpool midfield duo, he struggled to participate in a competition that saw his team come out well and really fail,
FW Mohamed Salah, 7 – A rare source of positivity, Al Masry slipped through Roberto Firmino with a neat kick from outside the shoe and added to his offensive response with a powerful blow.
FW Roberto Firmino – 6 – He was nicely turned down by superior Emiliano Martinez – the last goalkeeper to conquer Liverpool – when he fired on goal, before the same man offered a strong hand to thwart him again. Helped Salah with a perfectly calculated through pass.
FW Diogo Jota – 4 – There is no Sadio Mane, but Jota has had money since moving to Anfield. He tested Martinez twice from a distance, but to no avail.
MF Takumi Minamino, 6 – He substituted Keita in the first half and soon found himself in the right place to cut a Grealish pass before breaking the field. He did well in extreme conditions.
MF Curtis Jones, 6 – Replaced by Gomez, he did a good job and produced a vital intervention to keep Barclay from double his tally. Small victories, right?
MF James Milner, 6 – Villa appears twice in his impressive autobiography, but even an experienced Milner could not stop the corruption, despite his excellent last challenge to thwart Bertrand Traore.