All talk of survival stopped yesterday, as the footballing equivalent of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre unfolded at Villa Park, where the Reds ran riot and condemned the Villans to their worst home defeat for eighty-one years.
Before the game, Garde had spoken of the need for improvements but he was to be utterly humiliated before the game ended.
The tempo was high early on, with both sides passing neatly around the halfway line.
When the advancing Richards was needlessly shoved over by Moreno after four minutes, the hosts had a good opportunity to get the ball into the box. Gil picked out the unmarked Lescott, whose header back across goal was cleared.
Moreno’s limp cross after seven minutes went straight into the arms of Bunn.
Gil looked lively and creative but a promising attacking effort in the ninth minute came to nothing when Gueye overhit his pass.
Two minutes later, Mignolet punched clear, unconvincingly, following a dangerous inswinging cross from Cissokho.
The Liverpool forwards seemed to be struggling, epitomised by misjudged passes to Sturridge, but it was Sturridge who opened the floodgates with a header from point blank range after sixteen minutes.
Trying to clear the ball on the goal-line, Okore failed miserably and lost possession, upending Coutinho in the process. Milner swung the free kick in from the left, past Lescott and Bunn, to score the Reds’ second – from nothing.
Four minutes later, it took a deflection off Okore to prevent Klopp’s men scoring their third of the afternoon.
With three minutes left until half time, and with the Villans picking up some momentum, Okore was forced to clear the ball from under his bar.
Henderson’s angled cross was smothered by Bunn after forty-five minutes and the hosts held on to head into the break with a two-goal deficit.
As the second half got under way, it wasn’t long before Agbonlahor went down injured. He opted to carry on, although there was an extended break in play eight minutes after his initial injury as he required further treatment before being replaced by Sinclair.
The Reds’ inevitable third goal came just before the hour mark when a dallying Bacuna was dispossessed and Coutinho rolled the ball in to Can, who swept it into the bottom corner of the net.
The harried hosts had a chance to snatch a goal back after sixty minutes, when Bacuna’s shot was parried dangerously by Mignolet. Gueye couldn’t reach the rebound and his claims that he was held back by Moreno fell on deaf ears.
Substitute Origi, who replaced Sturridge after sixty-one minutes, didn’t take long to make his mark, slotting past Bunn a minute after coming on to make it 0-4.
When Clyne was allowed to wander unchallenged through the Villa area, the Reds’ third goal in eight minutes came. He initially forced a superb save from Bunn but, with nobody moving quickly enough to clear the ball, he was able to bundle home the rebound.
As more and more fans made for the exits, Lyden replaced Bacuna and all that remained was for Touré to score with a free header to add to the hosts’ humiliation.
Sinclair was a little unlucky not to score a consolation goal with ten minutes left on the clock, as his shot thudded off the post.
Hutton then replaced Richards after eighty-five minutes and the hosts saw the game out against a Liverpool side that had downed tools for the day.
Speaking post-match, Garde spoke of his “humiliation” and said: “I’m very sad and I’m very frustrated like all the fans here at Villa Park. I’m very sorry, I feel for them. I’m the first one to say sorry.”