A dismal Liverpool were beaten 7-2 in humiliating fashion by Aston Villa on Sunday, on a night that was almost too bad to comprehend.
Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool
Premier League (4), Villa Park
October 4, 2020
Goals: Watkins 4′ 22′ 41′, McGinn 35′, Barkley 55′, Grealish 66′ 75′; Salah 33′ 59′
Adrian (out of 10) – 2
Adrian came in for the injured Alisson, with the Spaniard set for an extended spell between the sticks.
It was a shocking performance from him, unfortunately, with his wayward early pass allowing Ollie Watkins to open the scoring for Villa.
He didn’t cover himself in glory for Watkins’ second or Ross Barkley’s strike, either, and he spread nervousness throughout the whole team.
Not even close to good enough, even as a deputy.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 3
Alexander-Arnold showed signs of his best form in the win over Arsenal last Monday, but he struggled to have the same influence at Villa Park.
Jack Grealish often got the better of him in their duel and he was often doubled up on in the attacking third, allowing him little space to create his usual magic.
All at sea defensively in the second half, in particular.
Joe Gomez – 2
Gomez is a wonderful young defender, but he is capable of woeful performances from time to time. This was one of those occasions – in fact, it’s up there with his worst for the club.
He threw in a limp tackle for Watkins’ second goal, having initially afforded the striker too much space, and he didn’t improve from then on, becoming almost laughably bad as the minutes ticked by.
Rightly substituted in the second half and there are now serious question marks about his place in the team to face Everton in a fortnight.
Virgil van Dijk – 3
Even Van Dijk is human.
While the Dutchman may not have been the biggest culprit for the Reds, he was still part of a defence that played their high line in inept fashion.
John McGinn’s volley flew into the net via a huge deflection off Van Dijk, summing up his and Liverpool’s evening.
Andy Robertson – 5
Robertson was one of the few who could feel relatively content with his performance, providing constant energy and quality down the left flank.
None of Villa’s goals were his fault and he was always looking to making things happen in the final third, linking up well with Gini Wijnaldum and Diogo Jota.
Still, he is a defender first and foremost and Liverpool conceded seven!
Fabinho – 3
Starting in his preferred midfield berth, Fabinho played better than most, but he was still far from blameless.
He was part of a Liverpool midfield that was horribly placid off the ball, allowing Villa to overrun them and cause havoc on the counter-attack.
There were moments of class in possession, and a few attempts to drive forward, but he won’t look back on the game fondly.
Could he revert to centre-back at Everton?
Naby Keita – 4
Keita has really started to look the part in a Reds shirt, but he was another who failed to hit top gear on Sunday.
The Guinean did look silky on the ball, sliding clever passes between the lines, but you were still left wanting much more.
His defensive work left plenty to be desired, with a lack of pace and strength a slight worry.
Gini Wijnaldum – 3
The ‘Wijnaldum goes missing away from home’ argument may be a lazy one, but there are still times when there is some truth to it.
At Villa Park, that very much applied.
The 29-year-old was largely anonymous barring one lovely pass in the first half his influence only diminished further as the match progressed.
Mohamed Salah – 6 (Man of the Match)
Salah was looking to further step up without Sadio Mane around and he deserves praise for his effort levels, despite the final score.
The Egyptian King fired home his 100th goal in English football, finishing superbly to make 2-1, before also finding the net in the second half.
The best of an appalling bunch.
Diogo Jota – 5
Jota was handed his first league start for Liverpool in the absence of Mane – he won’t forget it in a hurry.
To be fair to the Portuguese, he was direct in the first half and only his final ball is missing, but he grew increasingly ineffective.
You can see what Jota brings to the side as a backup, though, and he will be an exciting option moving forward.
Roberto Firmino – 2
Oh Bobby, what has happened to you?
When Firmino is off his game it is almost painful to watch and he was embarrassingly bad leading the line for Liverpool.
So many touches were heavy, so many passes were miles off their intended target and substituting him seemed like a kind thing to do – something Jurgen Klopp eventually did.
For the first time in years, Firmino’s place deserves to be under threat. He got an assist, but it wasn’t enough.
Takumi Minamino (on for Keita, 46′) – 4
The Japanese didn’t manage to affect the game, although he did little wrong.
Curtis Jones (on for Gomez, 60′) – 4
Apart from one good bit of tracking, Jones was unnoticed during his cameo.
James Milner (on for Firmino, 68′) – 5
Gave his all in true Milner fashion, but the game was over when he was introduced.
Subs not used: Kelleher, N.Williams, Henderson, Origi
Jurgen Klopp – 4
Klopp very rarely has an off-night, but this was a bad one for the Liverpool boss.
In truth, it was more about individual errors than Klopp’s tactics that cost the Reds so dearly, but his decision to play such a high line was made to look foolish.
Then again, it works most weeks!
It was hard to question Klopp’s team selection, or his substitutions, but when a team loses 7-2 the manager has to share a big portion of the blame.