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Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool: Shambolic Champions destroyed as title race takes early twist

On a day when Manchester United, Ferguson’s old club, plumbed new depths with their undressing at the hands of Tottenham, Liverpool decided to take the heat off their old rivals with a performance that was both even more stunning and even more shambolic.

Where do you even start with this one?

Jurgen Klopp’s side were ripped apart, destroyed by an Aston Villa team which exposed the reigning champions’ chin in quite brutal fashion.

It finished 7-2, but it genuinely could have been anything. Liverpool, a side that prides itself on its heart and its cohesion, its solidity and structure, were unrecognisable, bewildered strangers with Liver Birds on their chest but shoelaces tied together.

Their first-half display, in particular, was about as bad as it gets. Never under Klopp have they looked so weak, so vulnerable, so utterly ill-at-ease.

You would have seen better, more convincing defending in the Liverpool Sunday League.

Liverpool had more shots and three-quarters of the ball, but conceded four times in the opening 45 minutes – and it could have been more.

It did not get much better after the break, either. More than five years after the horrors of ‘Stoke away’, and that dim, disgusting 6-1 loss, this was every bit as bad.

Worse, in fact. Jurgen Klopp’ side was broken, its race run. They were imbalanced and bereft of confidence. This was the Premier League champions, taken to the cleaners by Ollie Watkins, standing and admiring Jack Grealish, smashed for seven by a team which only managed to avoid relegation on the final day of last season.

Who, truly, saw this coming? Sure, Liverpool have not been as solid as we expect – they conceded three against Leeds on the opening weekend – but seven goals? Against Villa? Unheard of.

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