One of Adrian’s former team-mates, Marko Gruijc has critised Adrian following Aston Villa’s and Ollie Watkins’ Liverpool masterclass.
Words: Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH
It has been a full week since Aston Villa rattled the footballing world by dispatching Liverpool 7-2 at Villa Park. A game that saw Liverpool as considerable favourites in the untamed early stages of the Premier League season, Villa did not look like a team who narrowly escaped relegation against the reigning league champions.
The punditry after the game was a lot of “Liverpool were poor on the night” & “Klopp needs to change things” rather than “Aston Villa were good on the night“. It’s a curse of the modern game; pundits and commentators searching for reasons like a gumshoe detective when a ‘top team’ has an underwhelming performance. Liverpool were missing a few vital pieces to their jigsaw puzzle with Sadio Mane and Allison Becker missing the clash against Villa and the post-match remarks were sure to highlight that no matter where you watched them in the world.
Even with the blatant casting aside of a remarkable performance from Aston Villa, Ollie Watkins first Premier League goal grew into a hat trick over 90 minutes. Villa’s new striker looks to be exactly what Dean Smith & his coaching staff figured he would be: tenacious, determined and full of natural goal-scoring ability.
Replacing the injured Allison between the sticks for Liverpool was the 33-year old Spaniard Adrian. It is painfully obvious to say that Adrian did not have his best showing against Aston Villa. At the shriek of the full-time whistle, Liverpool supporters across the globe quick to opine that Adrian is a massive drop in quality from their main number one Allison. One of Liverpool’s own players (away on loan), Marko Grujic, shamefully criticized Adrian on social media following the game as well.
Commenting on Instagram about Ollie Watkins and Fantasy Football, Grujic typed:
“The first couple of games the man is nowhere to be found, I impatiently decided to move him (out of my team) in Fantasy… the rest is history.
“Probably also ended Adrian’s career at Liverpool Football Club.”
Grujic was dispatched on loan to Portuguese side Porto before the international transfer window slid to a close, but his comments of disapproval about a fellow teammate from his parent club raised more than a few eyebrows and brought up an interesting thought.
While very early in Ollie Watkins career at Aston Villa, it is not a crazy thought to think that his hat trick against Liverpool & Adrian may have effectively ended the goalkeepers’ career as a Premier League goalkeeper, even in a backup capacity.
Of course, four other goals found the netting behind Adrian at Villa Park. And it’s true, some of those goals were badly blocked shots that turned into fortuitous deflections. Alas, the story of Ollie Watkins is truly just beginning at Aston Villa and a hat trick against the reigning Premier League champions most likely should have been celebrated among football media more than it generally was. There will be a lot of twists and turns for every Premier League club as the season unfolds, but Ollie Watkins & Aston Villa seem to be motivated with a new sense of belief and gusto.
It wasn’t just the scalp of Liverpool that Aston Villa will take away as a prize from this massive win, they may have also taken Adrian’s career in the Premier League as well.
Comparing how Villa played against Liverpool to most of the performances of last season was night and day, even the Villa players body language looked like a team who wanted to leave finishing 17th in the past and get to work on crafting a new future. In the wake of forging a new future, Aston Villa looks and feels to now be a squad who can be a formidable foe for any team in the Premier League.
Without a doubt, Ollie Watkins will be key to that future for Aston Villa.