Van Dijk, Adrian 3/10 as Liverpool are embarassed
Aston Villa continued their perfect start to the Premier League season in style as Dean Smith’s men ruthlessly dispatched of the champions 7-2 on a remarkable night at Villa Park.
The startled Reds — who saw their own 100 percent start come to an end — fell behind after just four minutes when Ollie Watkins capitalised on Adrian error, before the latter doubled his tally with a screamer. Mohamed Salah handed the visitors a lifeline, but John McGinn’s deflected strike restored Villa’s two-goal lead and Watkins tapped in again to make it 4-1.
Despite their defensive woes, Liverpool still looked relatively bright going forward and Salah’s clinical brace saw the Egyptian move past 100 Premier League goals.
Jurgen Klopp celebrates five years in the Anfield dugout this week, but all the gifts were presented to Villa as Adrian’s poor clearance set the tone for a dismal defensive showing that saw the Reds hit for seven.
Manger rating out of 10
5 — As bad as Liverpool were defensively, it’s hard to pin much of it on the visibly-stunned Klopp and the absence of Alisson and Sadio Mane did little to help
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Adrian, 3 — Unforgivably stroked the ball straight to Grealish who squared for 1-0, although I don’t think Adrian and Alisson would have stopped Watkins’ second between them. A few smart saves, but a night to forget.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 4 — Just when you think the young full-back might just have it all, he’s brought back down to earth with a bump. A frankly disgusting deflection saw Barkely’s effort end up in the top corner via the defender’s heel.
DF Virgil van Dijk 3 — Talk about kicking a man when he’s down, the visitors’ skipper took an accidental boot to the face in the first half, before McGinn’s strike cruelly deflected off the Dutchman and past his goalkeeper.
DF Andrew Robertson, 4 — In fairness to Adrian, Robertson’s floated back-pass required two touches to control and put his goalkeeper under avoidable pressure. He did his best to provide attacking support on the left, but was part of a feeble defensive effort nonetheless.
MF Naby Keita, 5 — Fired two early efforts straight into the bodies of Villa defenders when he probably should have done a bit better, and he was subsequently withdrawn at half-time.
MF Fabinho 6 — Fed a lovely ball through to Naby Keita before effortlessly skipping past a couple of Villa challenges as the Reds started to move through the gears. Became the third unfortunate Liverpool man to deflect the ball past his own goalkeeper.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 4 — Normally the glue in Liverpool’s central midfield duo, he struggled to get involved in a contest that saw his side come well and truly unstuck,
FW Mohamed Salah, 7 — A rare source of positivity, the Egyptian slipped through Roberto Firmino with a tidy prod off the outside of the boot and added to his attacking returns with a well-taken brace.
FW Roberto Firmino, 6 — Superbly denied by the outrushing Emiliano Martinez — the last keeper to conquer Liverpool — when clean through on goal, before the same man produced a strong hand to thwart him again. Assisted Salah with a perfectly-calculated through ball.
MF Takumi Minamino, 6 — Replaced Keita at the interval and quickly found himself in the right place to cut-out Grealish’s pass before breaking upfield. He did OK in dire circumstances.
MF Curtis Jones, 6 — Brought on in place of Gomez, he did well and produced a vital intervention to prevent Barkely from doubling his tally. It’s the little victories, right?