14 Feb Liverpool hit Villa for six
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed Daniel Sturridge’s Reds return after the striker sparked a rout at Aston Villa.
Liverpool thumped Villa 6-0 to condemn the hosts to their heaviest home defeat since 1935 on Sunday.
Goals from Sturridge, James Milner, Emre Can, Divock Origi, Nathaniel Clyne and Kolo Toure inflicted a crushing blow to Villa’s survival hopes.
England striker Sturridge had not started in the league since October during an injury-plagued season which has included a hip problem, knee injury, foot issue and hamstring trouble.
His goal was a reminder to England boss Roy Hodgson ahead of Euro 2016 and Klopp was delighted to have him back.
“We need the goals of Daniel and he needs the goals. For me it’s not a surprise he can score goals,” Klopp said, following Sturridge’s first start under him.
“He is a real striker. It’s really good to see. When he hides himself on the pitch it’s really difficult to defend (against) if he is always somewhere.
“He changed a lot of things but we can only speak about this when he is available. When he’s not we cannot say ‘but with Daniel it would have been different’. It was brilliant and you saw he was not too happy when we took him off.
“It was perfect for him and hopefully he is available for us for the next game. It was a perfect goal and it’s good for us when we have all players available. In football life is not like this and you have to get results when you don’t have all players available.”
But despite the manner of their victory Klopp refused to gloat out of respect for broken Villa, who are bottom and eight points from safety.
He said: “It’s perfect for the boys, they really feel it makes sense to work in this way. It’s not a day to sing songs or things like this for us. That’s part of the respect for Aston Villa, a great club in a difficult situation. If one team wins 6-0 another loses 6-0 and that’s not too nice for them.
“It’s not too often in a manager’s life, we keep it for bad times. It was a good game for us and a good result for the soul.”
Defeat was the first time Villa had conceded five or more at home in the Barclays Premier League and while manager Remi Garde refused to comment on his future he revealed his deep disappointment.
He said: “I feel humiliation when you concede six goals at home without scoring. It’s very painful. We don’t have time to moan too much, we have to concentrate on the next game.
“I have a lot of feelings but I will keep some for myself. The first 15 minutes we were not too bad but we gave them the first goal. We have 12 games to go, there’s still the possibility to win these games and we have to fight for it. I will find 11 or 18 players who still have the desire to win those games.”
Garde also labelled it his worst result as a manager after Villa suffered their 16th defeat of a wretched season.
“I saw that as well,” he said when questioned about Villa’s lack of fight. “In the previous weeks and games it was not the case. I always knew this was a very fragile situation.
“To keep fighting it’s not easy but you can imagine I didn’t ask for something different today. I haven’t got much explanation in that.”
Defender Joleon Lescott also posted a picture of a top-of-the-range Mercedes on Twitter shortly after the final whistle, although the tweet is believed to be accidental.
The centre-back was abused by fans following the message but it is not thought to be related to anything, with Villa left with just 12 matches to save their top-flight future.