Aston Villa 3-3 Liverpool: Instant classic as Villans, Reds, VAR each claim three goals

Aston Villa and Liverpool delivered one of the games of the season on Monday, as two of the Premier League's four (likely) Champions League-bound sides went haymaker for haymaker, scoring nine times (six of them actually counted), and left supporters and neutrals a like thoroughly exhausted at the final whistle.

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The result puts Aston Villa (68 points) five clear of Tottenham, who now need to win their final two games (Manchester City and Sheffield United), on top of Villa losing to Crystal Palace on Championship Sunday, to steal 4th place from Unai Emery's side. It adds more intrigue to the PL title race as well, as a win would have clinched 4th and given Spurs very little to play for when they host Man City on Tuesday (3 pm ET).

Defending optional for two of world’s best counter-attacking teams

There were barely 60 seconds on the clock before Liverpool were on the board and Emiliano Martinez wished the ground would open up and swallow him whole. Liverpool broke down the right wing and Harvey Elliott chipped a cross into the penalty area, slightly deflected by Pau Torres rushing back to defend his goal, which put Martinez off ever so slightly and caused him to mishandle the ball while falling to his backside. Out squirted the ball, backwards and behind Martinez, into his own goal.

Aston Villa were level just 10 minutes later, though, as Youri Tielemans hammered a low stinger through traffic, set up by Player of the Season nominee Ollie Watkins (his 13th assist). Liverpool hit back quickly and were back on top in the 23rd minute after Cody Gakpo tapped home from close range after Martinez initially intervened to deny Joe Gomez. Jarell Quansah doubled the advantage with his first PL goal in the 48th minute, but the scoring chances were nowhere near finished, so to speak, for either side.

Aston Villa - 3, Liverpool - 3, VAR - 3

First, in the 52nd minute, Leon Bailey set up Watkins to slot home but a lengthy video revealed that Bailey was offside by an inch or two out near midfield. Then it was Liverpool who were denied by VAR after Luis Diaz raced in behind and teed up Mohamed Salah for a tap-in — again, offside by the narrowest of margins. The Reds thought they had put the game put to bed again in the 87th, not even two minutes after Jhon Duran fired an arrow in the bottom corner to make it 3-2, but Darwin Nunez was flagged for offside as well, this time with a bit more clarity.

A minute later, the ball was in the back of Liverpool's goal again, off Duran's thigh, via Moussa Diaby's red-hot through ball, sent looping in the air over top of Alisson as the backdrop of Villa Park was nothing but unbridled, jubilant limbs. The Premier League at its most scintillating and enthralling best.

What’s next?

Aston Villa are currently eight goals better than Spurs, meaning they will likely need just a point against Palace this weekend to clinch Champions League qualification. Jurgen Klopp will try to say farewell to Liverpool and to Anfield with a win over Wolves.

Player ratings - Aston Villa vs Liverpool

Aston Villa vs Liverpool player ratings
Aston Villa vs Liverpool player ratings

Aston Villa vs Liverpool highlights, final score: 3-3

Goalscorers: Emiliano Martinez (2' - OG), Youri Tielemans (12'), Cody Gakpo (23'), Jarell Quansah (48'), Jhon Duran (85', 88')

GOAL - Aston Villa 3-3 Liverpool: Jhon Duran runs into Moussa Diaby’s pass with his thigh

GOAL - Aston Villa 2-3 Liverpool: Jhon Duran puts an arrow in the bottom corner

GOAL - Aston Villa 1-3 Liverpool: Jarell Quansah doubles the lead early 2nd half

GOAL - Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool: Cody Gakpo touches home to reclaim the lead

GOAL - Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool: Youri Tielemans smashes an equalizer through traffic

OWN GOAL - Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool: Emi Martinez fumbles a deflected cross over the line

Aston Villa starting lineup

Martinez — Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Digne — Luiz, Tielemans, McGinn — Bailey, Diaby, Watkins

Liverpool starting lineup

Alisson — Alexander-Arnold, Quansah, Van Dijk, Gomez — Endo, Mac Allister, Elliott — Salah, Diaz, Gakpo

How to watch Aston Villa vs Liverpool live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3pm ET Monday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Watch live online via

Aston Villa focus, team news

OUT: Boubacar Kamara (torn ACL - out for season), Emiliano Buendia (torn ACL - out for season), Tyrone Mings (torn ACL - out for season), Jacob Ramsey (foot), Morgan Rogers (thigh) | QUESTIONABLE: Alex Moreno (other), Youri Tielemans (groin), Nicolo Zaniolo (other)

Liverpool focus, team news

OUT: Joel Matip (torn ACL - out for season), Thiago Alcantara (groin) | QUESTIONABLE: Diogo Jota (hip)