Aston Villa 7 – 2 Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds were crushed by Ollie Watkins’ hat-trick as part of a four-goal first half
Liverpool’s Premier League title defence got off to a perfect start through three games, but the excitement from last season’s triumph wore off very quickly as the Reds were exposed by Aston Villa.
Villa fired four goals past Liverpool’s highly-regarded backline in the first half, continuously beating the Reds’ backline through 45 minutes before adding another goal just a few minutes into the second half.
The Reds’ high line was exposed time and time again, with Ollie Watkins netting a first-half hat-trick within 39 minutes.
He was joined on the scoresheet by John McGinn, with Mohamed Salah scoring at the other end to give Liverpool at least one positive moment from the first 45 minutes.
Playing without Alisson, the Reds gifted Villa the opener with goalkeeper Adrian’s mis-hit pass leading directly to Watkins’ opener.
Adrian has now made five errors directly leading to opposition goals in his 21 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions.
Those five errors are as many as Alisson has made in 92 such appearances for the Reds.
It only got worse from there, though, as Watkins and Jack Grealish routinely terrorised the Reds defence, leaving Jurgen Klopp shellshocked on the sidelines.
Watkins’ hat-trick is the 10th-ever Premier League hat-trick against Liverpool, and the first since Dimitar Berbatov in September 2010.
The second half began with a bang as well, with Ross Barkley adding yet another Villa goal to make it 5-1 before Salah score his second of the day to give Liverpool a slight shred of hope. A deflected strike from Grealish then made it 6-2 to Villa.
Liverpool’s defensive mishaps and Watkins’ attacking brilliance produced plenty of praise and criticism, as Villa’s statement first half left the Reds reeling.