Will Liverpool Surprise Have Lasting Impact on Aston Villa Players’ Mentality?

By Liam Scahill

Claret and Blue Surprise

Surprises are often welcomed unexpected gifts-experiences-treats but on rare occasions, especially in the realm of competitive sports, they are ambushes, a surprise that has morphed into a beast.

A bolt of unexpected bliss for one side that has been conjured by a cunning tactical plan fused with desire, commitment and execution.

And a gut-wrenching sucker punch for the other. 

The victors and all associated with the surprise ambush, naturally bask in an atmosphere of happy indulgence in the aftermath. 

It’s one of those odd little gifts life bestows on the world from time to time, there is almost something methodical about it, when viewed with the benefit of hindsight.

How did we not all sense a sign of some subconscious foreboding for the scouse defence?

Aston Villa’s recent shellacking of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool champions still has many in a state of bewilderment such was the magnitude of the surprise.

 “If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn’t expecting it.”

H.G. Wells

Perhaps Dean Smith invoked a famous quote from H.G Wells prior to the encounter, because such was the ferocious waves of Claret & Blue attacks the Liverpool defensive book was well and truly shredded.  

Villa’s attacking performance was full of bullish bravado and blood-headed bluster which surprised not only the most optimistic partisan Villan but also the footballing world at large. 

Dean Smith’s next set of results will be monitored more closely by your average football fan, the name Aston Villa was beamed into every news segment around the world, Villa’s element of surprise maybe somewhat transparent in the near future.

The question now is….

Is this an anomaly or a breakthrough moment of sorts?

Top 6 Mental Barrier

The 2019/2020 incarnation of Aston Villa had so many almost moments against the so called ‘Top 6’ sides – their win against Arsenal in the restart period was the only win against such teams all season. In fact, Liverpool’s visit to Villa Park last season was a gut wrenching example of how things tended to play out for Villa fans.

Villa’s efforts against the top sides were akin to the myth of Sisyphus, pushing that rock all the way up the hill, only for it to roll back down again.

The players inside the dressing room could have been forgiven for thinking they just were not good enough, but what now?

A result such as the one these Villa players delivered, may well be the quintessential silver bullet for any individual crisis of confidence in the future.

They have proved what they are capable of and this may have even surprised some of the players themselves.

For fans and players absorbed in it, the seduction of the tantalisingly possibilities are alluring, the element of surprise may be gone for Aston Villa’s next opponents but so too is any doubts in the players’ minds and that maybe the best surprise of all.



  1. I don’t see why the reference to a poetic style has to be mocked?
    I thought the nod to HG Wells, the poetic opening, and the link to a myth were lovely, and worked nicely.
    Why should football journalism be exempt from a bit of creative flair?
    ‘Get to the point’ ? Sod off and read the Daily Star.
    Some of us enjoy language and allusions.
    ‘Unnecessarily hard’?
    Not all Villa fans are morons…

  2. “ Surprises are often welcomed unexpected gifts-experiences-treats but on rare occasions, especially in the realm of competitive sports, they are ambushes, a surprise that has morphed into a beast.”

    Nothing against Celtic poets but cramming in as many synonyms into a sentence isn’t exactly Yeats.

    Poetry is about economy of words and carefully choosing the right ones.

    This style is just unnecessarily hard on your readers on what is otherwise a great website.

    • Oh no, I can see where you’e coming from – especially the sentence you reference! A bit cringe? But I thought I’d let the whimsy slide – he’s still giddy from the 7-2 and Ireland just got knocked out on pens. That combo is going to mess with any man’s head.

  3. Get to the point. It’s not clever or interesting making fancy allusions to literary figures.

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