Jürgen Klopp watched his Liverpool team crash to an extraordinary 7-2 defeat at Aston Villa and questioned the lack of reaction after a grisly early concession, and the desire of his players.
The manager had lost his first-choice goalkeeper, Alisson, to a shoulder injury in training – he will be out for four to six weeks – and the replacement, Adrián, handed Villa the breakthrough with a loose pass out from the back.
The goal was scored by Ollie Watkins, the £28m signing from Brentford, and he finished with a hat-trick. Jack Grealish scored two while Ross Barkley marked his Villa debut with a goal and John McGinn got the other. Mohamed Salah scored both for Liverpool on an evening when their high defensive line was taken apart.
“Pretty much everyone made massive mistakes around the goals,” Klopp said. “The first was obviously Adrián but the reaction around the goal was an even bigger mistake. We have to take risks and that is absolutely normal but we have to protect the risks and we didn’t do that. Each ball we lost was a massive counter-attack. They were quicker of mind than we were.”
Klopp said that Alisson had no chance of playing in the derby against Everton after the international break. “The injury could have been worse,” he continued. “Four weeks could be possible, six weeks is maybe more likely.
“Now maybe people say things about Adrián. The first goal was not good but I don’t think he had anything to do with the other goals. We didn’t help him tonight. He is a really good goalie. Last year we played 11 games with him and won pretty much all [of them]. Our goalie was not the problem. It is not often I have seen games like this, although I am old enough to know strange things can happen in football. You could see in moments that in challenges Aston Villa wanted it more and that is something I saw and I don’t like.
“Is it a one-off? I would like to think so but the proof of that will be in the next couple of weeks or months. A game like that should not happen, 100 per cent. It is important how we react. The only problem is we cannot react tomorrow. These boys are very self-critical and they know everyone has his hand in this result.”
Villa have won three out of three in the Premier League and Dean Smith, the manager, said this result “had to rank at the top” for him.
He added: “To get a performance and result like that against an exceptional team takes something special. I’m extremely proud. We executed the game plan to perfection. It was our work ethic, too. We’re only three games in but that performance can give us a lot of confidence and momentum.”