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Soccer-Watkins hat-trick as Villa humble champions Liverpool 7-2

BIRMINGHAM, England, Oct 4 (Reuters) - A sensational first-half hat-trick from Ollie Watkins helped Aston Villa to a stunning 7-2 victory over Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday to end the champions’ 100% start to the season in extraordinary fashion.

Liverpool started badly at Villa Park as a poor pass from Adrian -- deputising for Alisson in goal for the visitors after the Brazilian picked up a shoulder injury -- gifted Watkins the opener in the fourth minute.

If there was an element of good fortunate about Watkins’ first goal in a Villa shirt, his second was all his own fine work as he cut inside before firing into the top corner to stun the champions and make it 2-0 in the 22nd minute.

Mohamed Salah’s fine left-foot finish seemed to get Liverpool back in the game in the 33rd minute, but John McGinn’s deflected strike two minutes later restored Villa’s two-goal advantage.

Watkins completed his hat-trick inside 39 minutes, with former Everton midfielder Ross Barkley -- making his debut after joining Villa on loan -- making it five, 10 minutes into the second half.

Salah did give Liverpool hope on the hour mark, before a late double from Grealish completed a remarkable victory for the team who just avoided relegation last season. (Reporting by Peter Hall, editing by Ed Osmond)

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