Aston Villa accused of using cunning tactic to disrupt Liverpool during win

Graeme Souness thinks Aston Villa purposely left the Villa Park grass long to disrupt Liverpool and stop them playing a high-tempo game during their 7-2 victory.

A Ollie Watkins hat-trick spearheaded Dean Smith’s side to a remarkable victory on a bizarre day in the Premier League.

Just hours earlier, Manchester United shipped six goals during their home clash with Tottenham.

But Liverpool went one further and second-choice goalkeeper Adrian had a day to forget after he picked the ball out of his net on seven occasions.

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Villa had more energy and fight throughout the 90 minutes but Souness thinks there may also have been other factors in play.

“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,” Souness said.

“I did say it’s the same for both teams but all the top teams want short grass, fast pitch.

“That doesn’t look like a fast pitch to me tonight.”

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Speaking after the match, Watkins was in disbelief with how well Villa played.

“I can’t believe it really,” he said. “Getting one goal is good but three is unbelievable. I think 1-0 up gives us confidence, we grew into the game and punished them.

“I came away with a hat-trick but think I could have got more. It is bitter sweet.

“Ross [Barkley] has only been in a few days but in training we are linking up well. I link up well with Jack [Grealish] as well and I’m glad Ross is here.”

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Meanwhile, Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk explained how the defending champions were feeling.

“It’s hard to lose the way we lost tonight,” the Dutchman said. “First and foremost well done to Aston Villa, we have to give them the credit they deserve.

“It was one of those performances where we weren’t 100% at it from start to finish. The goals we conceded we should have done, but also the chances that we had, we should have done better.

“Overall we’re all disappointed, we shouldn’t have lost with the numbers that we did but it’s about sticking together and making sure it doesn’t happen again.

“You can’t take the credit away from Aston Villa, but we should have been more clinical. In all aspects of the game we should have done much better.

“It’s important not to get crazy but we’ve got to step it up and the performance level between the Arsenal league win and today was too big.”

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