What the hell happened yesterday? I’m not sure where to begin with this one. Villa v Liverpool games are at best tight affairs, with us suffering the odd hammering when things aren’t going well.
There’s a good reason everyone’s heard of the 5-1 win at Villa Park in 1976, results like that are as rare as a defecating rocking horse.
So to equal, then surpass messrs Gray, Little and co. was truly the stuff of dreams.
We started well and looked dangerous even before Adrian gave us a helping hand. Grealish intercepted a careless pass and passed to Ollie Watkins who slotted home.
Ross Barkley missed a good chance soon after and we wondered if we’d regret not scoring when Martínez twice saved well from Firmino.
Any worries didn’t last long. On 22 mins Watkins found space, cut in and fired an unstoppable drive into the top corner.
Liverpool rallied, and when Salah hit one back 12 minutes later the tension ratcheted up a notch. But Villa wouldn’t be denied.
Two minutes later a John McGinn shot took a deflection off Van Dijk and it was 3-1. Four minutes later it was 4-1.
Barkley’s free kick eluded Liverpool’s high defensive line and Trezeguet had space to cross for Watkins to head home. He’d scored a perfect hat trick in less then 40 minutes, having previously never scored a Premier League goal.
Despite the three goal advantage, I imagine most Villa fans spent half time hoping we could hang on for the three points. With Klopp able to sort his team out, an onslaught was surely inevitable. Instead, things got better and better.
Villa still looked so dangerous going forward, and on 55 minutes Ross Barkley grabbed a deserved debut goal, his shot taking a slight deflection and looping over Adrian. We’d equalled the boys of ‘76 and were truly in dreamland.
That score lasted just 5 minutes. As if to remind us who we were playing , Salah hit Liverpool’s second when he shot past Martínez after a through ball from Firmino.
Super Jack wasn’t having it. Like a predator toying with its catch, he deliberately bounced the ball off Fabinho’s back and into the net for our sixth (other descriptions are available). Liverpool were in pieces by now, and Watkins should have had his fourth when he went clear, only for Adrian to save.
Jack showed him how it should be done on 75 minutes, running clear of Liverpool’s hapless back four and clipping the ball past the now traumatised Adrian for Villa’s seventh.
We nearly got an eighth when Watkins hit the bar from a Trezeguet cross. But the gods of football history had decided enough was enough.
Days like yesterday are truly historic. They remind us why we love our club so much, and remind everyone else that Aston Villa are never to be taken lightly.