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Sports News

Souness thinks Villa let the grass grow to slow Liverpool

Soccer Football - Premier League - Aston Villa v Liverpool - Villa Park, Birmingham, Britain - October 4, 2020. Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring their fourth goal and completing his hat-trick with Ezri Konsa and teammates. Pool via REUTERS/Catherine Ivill

(Reuters) - Liverpool great Graeme Souness says Aston Villa may have let the grass grow on their home pitch a bit longer than usual 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 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.”

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk told Sky Sports said they 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.”

Klopp said goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who missed the game with a shoulder injury, faces up to six weeks out and would miss their next fixture against Everton on Oct. 17.

“... 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.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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