After just 3 matches, Liverpool have more points than both Manchester clubs combined.
It’s just October, but another Premier League title looks within their grasps.
Still, the Reds have some challenges in front of them. First, Aston Villa appear in form and have started the season strong. Second, Liverpool are missing many key players, including Sadio Mane and Thiago (COVID-19) and Alisson (injury).
Can Liverpool stay perfect and finish matchweek 4 atop the table? Well, not at all, as they suffer a shocking 7-2 loss (their worst since 1963) in a defeat that comes as a huge reality check for Klopp’s men. They begin the game in horrific fashion mostly thanks to a terrible backpass by Adrian gifting a goal to Ollie Watkins in the 4th minute.
The Reds seemed shaken by that and were cut open by the Jack Grealish-Watkins combo again in the 23rd minute, when Watkins went past Gomez to score a brilliant striker into the top corner to make it 2-0 under the half-hour mark. Liverpool got their head in the game afterwards and pulled one back when Mo Salah capitalized on an opportunity perfectly to score his 100th goal for the club.
Just as it looked like an LFC comeback as on, Villa scored again three minutes after conceding when John McGinn’s shot took a huge deflection off Virgil van Dijk to slide into the net. Watkins then completed his hattrick and made it 4-1 in the 39th, thanks to some terrible set-piece defending from Liverpool allowing Trezeguet to assist a bullet header from the young striker.
Villa then pounded on Liverpool’s misery with Evertonian Ross Barkley getting a goal through another wicked deflection, this time from Trent Alexander-Arnold – making it 5-1 in the 55th! Salah then got his second in the 60th, getting past the Villa defence and firing a solid goal to make it 2-5!
And once again when it looked like LFC could mount a comeback, they conceded a SIXTH GOAL in the 66th-minute with Grealish’s shot taking a wicked deflection off Fabinho and into the net. But there was more, as even more stupid high-line defending cost LFC in the 75th – when Graelish went through on goal and scored Villa’s seventh in the game!
Fortunately, the onslaught stopped after that – but that was Liverpool’s worst performance under Klopp. It was quite Anti-Klopp soccer and pre-Van Dijk defending that caused that. Safe to say, if that kind of stuff is maintained, the Reds will find it extremely difficult to retain their title. Top points for Villa though! They looked the real deal this time!
Liverpool Player Ratings
Jurgen Klopp (2.0) –
Klopp had a controversial row with Roy Keane last week where he insisted that his team ‘aren’t sloppy’. They reeked of sloppiness tonight. He couldn’t do anything to stop the onslaught or motivate his players, something which is uncharacteristic for someone like him. He needs to stop showing blind faith on underperforming players like VVD, Keita and make necessary changes for the Merseyside derby.
His subs didn’t work today either and nothing kind of worked. That was a very ‘Anti-Klopp’ performance from Liverpool. Needs to learn lessons from his reality check and make necessary changes (like remove the high-line that cost them repeatedly today).
Adrian (1.0) –
He comes in for Alisson and immediately makes Klopp regret his decision with his terrible backpass to Grealish resulting in an easy goal for Watkins. Maybe he couldn’t save the goals that took massive deflections, but Adrian’s first mistake started this sh*t show and his overall work was shocking too.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (1.0) –
Alexander Arnold is getting absolutely grilled by Grealish today and can’t seem to put a lid on him. Should’ve done better to deny the second goal at least. Too callous in making a block attempt for Barkley’s shot, which unfortunately struck him and then went into his own goal’s top corner for Villa’s fifth!
He again lost mark of Grealish for his second goal, playing him onside and allowing him to score easily. Defensively, he was atrocious and couldn’t do anything going forward today either. Maybe needs benching as well?
Virgil van Dijk (0) –
A shaky start to the game and he gets nutmegged by Grealish in the 8th, almost causing Villa’s second. He ends up causing a goal after all, with a part unfortunate and part clumsy deflection to concede the third. Then gets booked for a rash challenge in the 38th and maintained a poor defensive line resulting in the 4th. Lucky not to get sent off before the first half.
Switched off in the second half and looked rattled, not being able to hold his backline together or deny more goals for Villa. That was absolutely terrible from VVD and his worst in an LFC t-shirt. Seriously needs to be benched to get his senses back.
Joe Gomez (3.0) –
Gomez was not to be faulted for not being able to collect Adrian’s terrible pass leading to the opener, but he definitely got outsmarted by Watkins for his second. He seemingly buckled under pressure after that, getting bullied by Watkins and being caught out of positions repeatedly. Subbed after the hour-mark after a very, very sloppy performance.
Andy Robertson (5.0) –
Robbo seems pumped to get an assist today. Got into some brilliant areas early on and sent in scrumptious crosses, but nobody there to pounce on it. Slithered into a good goal-scoring area before half-time but his volley was well saved. Robbo was LFC’s best defender today. Created a lot of danger going forward, didn’t make disastrous errors and looked the only one who cared to keep Villa out.
The Looks Great in Training Naby Keita (3.0) –
He comes in for Henderson again, but can he make an impact? We’ll see. Not really. He got a few great scoring chances in the first half but scuffed every one of them, with a particular one falling to Salah for his goal. Guess he can only perform well in training. Lacked creativity, hunger or any kind of real threat today and subbed at half-time.
Gini Wijnaldum (3.0) –
Wijnaldum is not being able to act like that midfield engine he normally does and struggling to put a lid on Villa’s energetic midfielders. Gained some energy/urgency after half-time and pressed Villa’s midfielders really well to kick start the move resulting in Salah’s second. Like Bobby, that was his only ‘good’ moment and apart from that, it was a soulless, lethargic performance from Gini – who should be replaced by Thiago next time.
Fabinho (2.0) –
Fabinho’s acting as the creative general for Liverpool with the absence of Thiago today, making a few brilliant defence-splitting passes early on to force chances. His defensive contribution was almost non-existent as he couldn’t contain John McGinn or Jack Grealish, allowing too many moves past him. Things went from bad to worse, when Grealish’s shot unluckily deflected off him into the net.
Then had another shocker by playing Watkins onside to let him through on goal in the 70th, but Adrian thankfully saved it. Fabinho was all over the place today, making constant errors, not being able to put in challenges and leaving his defence exposed. Struggled without proper partners beside him.
Mo Salah (7.5) –
Salah looked a bit shaken by the start but decided to things matter into his own hands by driving his side forward. Bit lucky to find himself in front of goal with such a big opportunity for his goal, but his whipped volley was perfect. Then scores his second with some great close control and precise finishing to pull one back for LFC.
Salah looked the only one (with Robbo) who actually wanted to win or mount a comeback tonight. His movement and overall work was superb so can’t thrash him today.
Diogo Jota (4.5) –
A Premier League debut in red for Jota. Gets a shot on target in the 24th after an ambitious volley straight at Emiliano Martinez. Great forward run and clever pass leading to Salah’s goal. He carried the ball forward well, but lacked that lethality which Mane possesses in bulks.
Roberto Firmino (4.0) –
Firmino had a great away form last season but scuffs a decent chance to score from close in the 14th. Had a stinker until one moment in the 60th when he cleverly found Salah for his second. That was perhaps the one good moment from him. APart from that, he was pretty much useless and put in another frustrating performance.
Takumi Minamino (5.0) –
Got a big chance to score before the hour-mark, but his instincts weren’t sharp enough to pounce on a chance from close. Was promising with his movement but couldn’t create anything definitive.
Curtis Jones (N/R) –
Looked a bit fazed by the situation, but made some good challenges to deny Villa scoring opportunities.
James Milner (N/R) –
The experienced one made a few clutch tackles to stop Villa from scoring more and looked disgruntled by everything that transpired like any other LFC fan.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Salah was levels above everyone else tonight and scored a brilliant brace, but Jack Grealish deserves the MOTM for 2 goals and 3 assists tonight!