Ollie Watkins identifies Liverpool weakness which was exposed by Aston Villa

Ollie Watkins has revealed he and his Aston Villa teammates were convinced they could beat champions Liverpool.

Watkins bagged a hat-trick as Villa ran out 7-1 winners to cap a stunning weekend in the Premier League.

And the former Brentford hitman explained how manager Dean Smith's gameplan worked a treat.

"We saw how high they play and the game plan was to try and get in behind them and you could see it worked," he said.

"We fancied ourselves today but I'm not sure we thought the scoreline would be that.

"It was more about blocking off the passing lanes and just making sure they can't pass through us. We knew it would be hard but we all worked together and it showed tonight."

Watkins opted to join Villa after Brentford failed to reach the top flight.

And he added: "Before the game I didn't think I'd score three goals but after the first one I got confidence and grew into the game and got chances.

"I should have got more in the end. One on one with the keeper… I've got to be scoring that. You can always improve and I think I'd back myself to score that."

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Liverpool got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds.

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Youngster Ki-Jana Hoever is set to head to Wolves in a £10million deal, while Gini Wijnaldum continues to be linked with Barcelona. There's a lot to keep track of.

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Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk, meanwhile, admitted the champions "weren't 100 per cent at it from start to finish".

"It's hard to lose the way we did tonight," Van Dijk he said.

"You have to give Aston Villa the credit they deserve, but if we are looking at ourselves we felt it was one of those performances where we weren't 100 per cent at it from the start until the finish.

"Now it's key to stick together and make sure it doesn't happen again.

"We have to be stepping up the performance level and everyone has to take responsibility."

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