Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool: Making sense of it all (or at least trying to)

Where do we even begin?

It is two days since the disastrous showing that took place at Villa Park, and Liverpool fans are still hoping it's a giant nightmare that they have yet to wake up from. The Reds conceded a whopping seven goals in the meekest way possible, ending their 100% record with an absolute horror show.

It is difficult to swallow such a result, coupled with the COVID-19 concerns and injuries plaguing the team - Jurgen Klopp's men head to the international break with question marks somehow hanging over the team that was lauded just over a week ago.

So just how much of a concern it is? We tried to make a little sense of the jarring performance, hoping to shed some positive light at the end of the day on the debacle that unfolded in Birmingham.

Disclaimer: Take absolutely away nothing from Dean Smith's men, who were more than deserving of all three points.

1. Lady Luck

It was as if Lady Luck decided that she had favored the Reds a little too much in the same fixture last season, where a late Andy Robertson goal stole all three points in the cruelest of fashion. The Reds arguably robbed Villa of all three points, with a draw likely the fairest of results that day.

It is perhaps no wonder that three goals from Villa came from huge deflections on shots that took place outside the box - an occurrence that probably happens as often as the ball deflecting off a beach ball and into the goal.

Mo Salah also had a penalty shout - which no one would have batted an eyelid if it was awarded - turned down when the Reds were trailing by a solitary goal, which could have dramatically altered the course of the game.

But such was the abysmal performance from the Reds that even the most die-hard fan would struggle to use the above as an argument.

That match against Villa last season proved to be one of the most critical moments of the campaign, and we sure are hoping the Reds will use this game and react in a similar, positive manner.

2. One of those days

We remember those days: Salah having an uncharacteristic off day and Robertson not at his imperious best, while the likes of Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold having to turn up in style to fill the void, or vice versa. The Reds was still a well-oiled machine capable of functioning efficiently even when some of the stars are not at the races, albeit not at their devastating best.

But it turned out this was not one of those days, but those instead - where only two (or three, at a stretch) players in the starting eleven can walk out of the game with their heads held high. Diogo Jota had a solid first half, while Salah and Robertson put in a shift undeserving of the outcome.

Everyone else had a day to forget, with individual mistakes and a lack of confidence the theme of the performance. The backline in particular would have made fans miss the likes of even Paul Konchesky - Adrian's howler first opened the floodgates, Joe Gomez had an absolute horror show, Virgil van Dijk failed to cope with Ollie Watkins and co, Alexander-Arnold has yet to kickstart his season, while the entire midfield trio went AWOL against the very impressive John McGinn. Roberto Firmino too, had one of his most frustrating games in a Liverpool shirt.

With eight players looking out of sorts right from the first whistle, the shambolic performance perhaps came as no surprise. The only consolation is that the odds of having two-thirds of the team not showing up again is pretty low, and we are glad it happened at this stage of the season.

3. The influence of Jordan Henderson

Had the skipper been on the pitch, would we have witnessed the timid response mustered by the Reds after going two goals down?

It's a question that perhaps we have an answer to by now.

Liverpool's recent notable losses (Watford and Crystal Palace in the league, Chelsea in the FA Cup and against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League where he picked up the hamstring injury) all came when Henderson was not on the pitch, once again highlighting the value he brings to the team.

The captain is a tremendous player and leader, and we suspect we would not have seen as many heads dropped as we did had he been fit to start. He looks set to feature after the international break, and his return should provide the leadership that was sorely lacking just in time for the Merseyside Derby.

4. Seven goals conceded, but just three points dropped

The Reds' heaviest loss since 1963 would have hurt many fans, but it is perhaps important to remind ourselves that as much as it seems like it is the end of the world, it is ultimately only three points dropped.

With rivals Manchester City also dropping points, Liverpool are still sitting comfortably at fifth - just three points off the top - despite a relatively challenging start to the season. Having also beaten the likes of potential challengers Arsenal and Chelsea, the Reds are still in an excellent place to defend their crown.

The eventual return of Alisson, Mane, Henderson and Thiago Alcantara will also prove to be crucial for the title challenge as the team return to Anfield after their international duties.

The wound inflicted by Jack Grealish and co will no doubt still hurt when the curtains are drawn at the end of the season, but we are confident a successful title defence would prove to be more than enough to eliminate any pain - and the Reds are definitely still well capable of that.