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.
Former Brentford striker Watkins had never scored a Premier League goal before kick-off and 45 minutes later he had the match ball, as Villa took advantage of Liverpool’s high line and individual mistakes.
Villa captain Grealish scored their final two goals after assisting three.It is the first time Liverpool have conceded seven goals since 1963 and only their fourth Premier League defeat since 3 January 2019. Villa, who escaped relegation on the final day of last season, overtake them in the table with their best start since 1962.
Villa’s first was the result of a huge error by Adrian. The Reds stand-in keeper passed the ball straight to Grealish, who cut it back for Watkins to side-foot in from eight yards.
Watkins’ second was excellent as he cut in from the left and smashed into the top corner.
Mohamed Salah looked to have restored order when he scored for the Reds, but John McGinn’s deflected volley two minutes later put Villa’s lead back to two.
It got even better when Watkins headed in from Trezeguet’s cross to become the first player to score a Premier League hat-trick against Liverpool since Dimitar Berbatov for Manchester United 10 years ago.
Villa debutant Ross Barkley, a boyhood Evertonian, was excellent and added a fifth after the break from just outside the box – from Grealish’s third assist.
Salah made it 5-2 from Roberto Firmino’s pass on the hour-mark but then Grealish smashed in Villa’s sixth before latching onto McGinn’s raking pass to add another.
This is the first time in 18 attempts that Villa have beaten the reigning champions at home – the last was a 3-2 win over Arsenal in December 1998.
There have been many surprising results this season – including Tottenham’s 6-1 win at Manchester United earlier on Sunday – but none can beat this for sheer shock value.
The game that defies all logic
This is a result which makes no sense – apart from the fact Aston Villa were remarkable and clinical and Liverpool were unbelievably bad.
A team who almost got relegated last season beat the defending champions – who barely ever lose – 7-2.
It is one thing to identify Liverpool’s weaknesses but quite another to take advantage of them in such a sensational way.
Villa are now unbeaten in seven league games, including the run that saw them stay up at the end of last season, and have won all three league matches this season.
Dean Smith’s side managed to get in behind Liverpool’s high defensive line with ease in the first half.
They had a dream start when Watkins stroked a left-footed opener in from an Adrian error.
Watkins’ second came as Grealish fed him down the left and he cut inside Joe Gomez before firing home with his right foot.
Ross Barkley squandered two great chances to score on his debut before Salah gave Liverpool hope.
They did not allow their heads to drop though and moments later Barkley ran onto a ball over the top and forced a save from Adrian. From his resulting corner Gomez headed into the path of McGinn, whose volley flew in via a big Virgil van Dijk deflection.
Watkins got his perfect hat-trick – in more ways than one – before the break. Barkley lifted another free-kick over with Villa getting in behind again. Trezeguet crossed from the byeline and Watkins could nod into an empty net for a perfect hat-trick, in more ways than one.
The goal stood after a quick video assistant referee check for offside.
They would surely have settled for that as the final score at the break – but managed to score three more. Grealish picked out Barkley, whose 20-yard strike flicked off the leg of Trent Alexander-Arnold. Grealish then scored via a Fabinho deflection and then ran onto a McGinn ball to add a famous seventh.
Watkins even crashed one off the crossbar and Bertrand Traore went close to an eighth.
What now for Villa? With a performance like this and three wins from three their thoughts will be a lot, lot higher than a relegation battle.