04 October | Villa Park | Aston Villa 7 – 2 Liverpool
The delay in this article can be fully attributed to the pure shock at the result. Learning before the game that Alisson would be out made me nervous, but did I think it would be THIS bad, no! Not having our Brazilian Brick Wall is bad, but in my opinion, not having Sadio Mane hurts this Liverpool team more.
I do not like blaming goals on one single person as football is a team sport, but what was Adrian doing to concede that first goal? Instead of that absolutely terrible pass to Joe Gomez, he should have chosen to simply boot the ball down the field, clearing the danger and resetting the play. But he did not do that, and Liverpool were (preventably) down 1-0. Even after this goal, Liverpool looked to be playing normally. They had Villa pinned in their own final third, they were keeping possession… though that never really translated to anything meaningful.
In the first twenty minutes of the game, Liverpool had many chances but could never finished them… it was tough to watch. When Ollie Watkins pulled out an absolute peach of a finish in the 22nd minute, there was nothing Adrian could have done about it. It was at this point that I realized there was something wrong with the defense. Not only did they look a step slow, they were also trying to hold a high line – which Villa had no problem exploiting. A high line is never a good idea when you have your back-up keeper in, and the backline is sluggish.
The one bright spot on a dark day was Mo Salah. He bagged another two goals, reaching 100 goals in the Premier League. His first goal was a result of great pressure and slick movement after a Villa turnover. The second was equally clinical. Unfortunately, there is not much more to be happy about… Liverpool just looked flat. They were not able to keep Villa from scoring. McGinn got a lucky bounce off of Virgil’s pinky toe, and Watkins capped off his first-half hattrick, taking Villa into the half up 4-1. At this point, I still felt that we could not count out Liverpool. We have come back from similar (or worse) score lines before, but we needed a roaring second half.
Sadly, the Reds did not get the second half their supporters were hoping for. Villa piled on three more goals, and while Mo Salah bagged a brace, but the end result was ugly.
Mere hours after texting some Man United supporters trashing them for losing 6-1 to the Spurs, I was getting the same texts right back in my face. I guess I will turn to some advice I often receive from my grandfather: “That’ the way the cookie crumbles.”
It is hard to believe that just a week ago we watched the same Liverpool team dismantle Arsenal, but that is football. Off days are exposed when you play at the highest level of professional football. I remain ever-optimistic that Jurgen Klopp will be able to figure it out and get the Reds back on track against Everton and in the other competitions this season.
We will get through this, Reds! See you at the next weekend for the derby. YNWA!