Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool: Ollie Watkins hat-trick as champions stunned – BBC Sport

    Jack Grealish and former Everton midfielder Ross Barkley were among the scorers

    Jack Grealish and former Everton midfielder Ross Barkley were among the scorers

    Ollie Watkins scored a first-half hat-trick and Jack Grealish had a hand in five goals as Aston Villa deservedly stunned champions Liverpool with one of the most unbelievable scorelines in Premier League history.

    the grealish captain scored his last two goals after assisting three.

    Reading: Aston villa 7 2 liverpool

    • Follow the live reaction of aston villa v liverpool

    It is the first time Liverpool have conceded seven goals since 1963 and it is only their fourth Premier League loss since 3 January 2019. Villa, who escaped relegation on the last day of last season, gave them tops the table with its best start since 1962.

    villa’s first one was the result of a big mistake by adrian. The Reds’ substitute goalkeeper passed the ball directly to Grealish, who clipped it in for Watkins to shoot it from the side from eight yards.

    Watkins’s second was excellent when he cut from the left and crashed into the top corner.

    mohamed salah seemed to have restored order when he scored for the reds, but john mcginn’s volley deflected two minutes later put villa’s lead back at two.

    It got even better when Watkins headed in a Trezeguet cross to become the first player to score a Premier League hat-trick against Liverpool since Dimitar Berbatov with Manchester United 10 years ago.

    villa debutant ross barkley, an Evertonian from childhood, was excellent and added a fifth after the break from outside the box, with the third assist from grealish.

    Salah made it 5-2 with a pass from Roberto Firmino at the hour mark, but then Grealish smashed Villa in the sixth before latching on to McGinn’s rake pass to add another.

    This is the first time in 18 attempts that Villa have beaten the defending champions at home – the last was a 3-2 victory over Arsenal in December 1998.

    There have already been plenty of surprise results this season, including Tottenham’s 6-1 win over Manchester United on Sunday, but none can beat this surprise value.

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    “We never dreamed of getting a result like this,” village chief Dean Smith told BBC Sport.

    “The performance was outstanding from start to finish. We created a lot of chances against an exceptional defense and team. We had to work very hard.”

    the game that defies all logic

    this is a result that makes no sense apart from the fact that aston villa was extraordinary and clinical and liverpool were unbelievably bad.

    A team that was on the brink of relegation last season beat the rarely losing defending champions 7-2.

    It is one thing to identify Liverpool’s weaknesses and quite another to take advantage of them in such a sensational way.

    villa is now unbeaten in seven league games, including the run that saw them hold on at the end of last season, and they have won all three league games this season.

    dean smith’s side managed to get behind liverpool’s lofty defensive line with ease in the first half and watkins, who was the championship’s top scorer last season and cost villa a club record 28m pounds sterling, was the main beneficiary.

    took advantage of adrian’s error for the first with his left foot and chased down grealish’s pass before cutting inside joe gomez and shooting with his right.

    watkins scored his perfect hat-trick, in more ways than one, before the break, heading into an empty net after trezeguet collected a deep free kick from barkley, who finished the ball in the six-yard box. He also smashed an effort off the crossbar as Villa chased down a late eighth goal.

    “We’ve kept the momentum going since the end of last season, but we’ve added quality to it,” said smith, the village chief. “People have questioned the price of Ollie Watkins. It’s probably tripled now.”

    Three more goals followed in an equally frenetic second half. Grealish chose Barkley, whose 20-yarder was helped into the top right corner by a leg flick from Trent Alexander-Arnold. Grealish then scored through a Fabinho deflection before executing a pass from McGinn to add a famous seventh.

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    what happens now with villa? With a performance like this and three wins out of three, thoughts of him will be much, much higher than a relegation battle.

    what the hell was that about liverpool?

    Liverpool were missing starting goalkeeper Alisson due to injury and Sadio Mane and Thiago, who both tested positive for coronavirus. but nothing could excuse this performance, surely the worst of the illustrious era of coach jurgen klopp.

    even last year when they brought out their under-23 team to face villa in the carabao cup, since the first team played in the club world cup, which only ended in a 5-0 loss.

    liverpool was completely miserable. The tone was set from the moment Adrian beat a simple pass to Joe Gomez, who went straight to Grealish to set up the first goal.

    adrian has made five errors that have led directly to scoring goals in his 21 appearances for liverpool, as many as starter alisson has made in 92 appearances. Klopp revealed after the match that Alisson is likely to miss several games with a shoulder injury.

    several of villa’s goals took advantage of liverpool’s high defensive line. they just couldn’t deal with grealish and barkley’s cunning and watkins’ finishing.

    double salah will not count for anything.

    Will Klopp treat this game as a unique anomaly, or will the manner of defeat be more of a concern for the German?

    “you have to say that villa did very well,” klopp told bbc sport. “They were very physical, very smart and very direct, we were not.

    “We had great chances that we didn’t take, but when you give up seven, I’m not sure you can say it would have been 7-7. We made too many mistakes and obviously massive mistakes. It started with the first one.” goal and around the goals we made blunders.”

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    • aston villa won their first three league games in a season for the first time since the 1962-63 campaign.
    • this was the first time liverpool had conceded seven goals in a game in all competitions since April 1963 in a 7-2 league defeat to Tottenham, while it was the second time Aston Villa had scored seven times in a single major league match, after a 7-1 win over Wimbledon in February 1995.
    • Liverpool are the first reigning English top-flight champions to score seven goals in a league match since Arsenal against Sunderland in September 1953.
    • aston villa have won four successive home premier league games for the first time. since October 2007.
    • Liverpool’s 11 goals conceded is their most after four games in a league season since 1937-38 (also 11).
    • since start of last season, aston villa ollie watkins has scored more league goals than any other player in england’s top four tiers (29 including play-offs).
    • watkins was 10th player to score a hat-trick in the premier league against liverpool, and the first since dimitar berbatov in september 2010.
    • jack grealish is only the second aston villa player to assist three goals in a Premier League match only. , after james milner v burnley in february 2010.
    • mohamed salah has now scored against 25 of the 26 teams he has played against in the premier league for liverpool (96%) – the best ratio of any player in the competition for the club.

    what’s next?

    after the international break, liverpool visit everton in the merseyside derby on saturday 17th october, with villa in leicester on the same day.

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