Liverpool great Graeme Souness says Aston Villa might have let the grass grow a bit longer than usual on their home pitch in a bid to stop the Premier League champions hitting top gear on Sunday.
A superb first-half hat-trick from Ollie Watkins helped Villa to a 7-2 victory, handing Jurgen Klopp’s side their first defeat of the season. It was the first time Liverpool conceded seven goals in a match in any competition since 1963.
“What I would say, Villa, and it’s the same for both teams, I think they’ve left the grass longer than normal to slow Liverpool’s movement,” Sky Sports pundit Souness said.
“All the top teams want short grass, a fast pitch. That doesn’t look like a fast pitch to me.”
Eddie Mills, a member of Villa’s matchday ground staff, took exception to the suggestion however.
Mills wrote on Twitter: “Graeme Souness’s uneducated comments about the villa pitch are insulting to all the massively hardworking groundsmen [sic] up and down the country who put their hearts and souls into their proud work! #clueless.”
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk told Sky Sports his team would review their performance but would not get too down on themselves.
“We have to be very hard with each other, and we will be. It’s key to not get crazy, but we have to be stepping it up.
“The performance level between the last game against Arsenal for the league and today was too big… Everyone has to take responsibility.”
Back-up goalkeeper Adrian made yet another poor error when he gifted Villa a goal on Sunday, and Klopp said Alisson Becker, who missed the game with a shoulder injury, faces up to six weeks out and would miss their next fixture against rivals Everton on 17 October.
“It could have been worse with that injury,” Klopp said. “I don’t want to put a timeframe on it, but four weeks could be possible – six weeks is maybe more likely.”
In light of Adrian’s poor form and Alisson’s absence, Liverpool have made contact with Tottenham over Paulo Gazzaniga, The Independent understands.
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