Former Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton has hit out at Graeme Souness, who accused the Midlands club of intentionally leaving their grass long for Sunday's 7-2 win over Liverpool.
Villa stunned the Premier League champions as Ollie Watkins notched a hat-trick in the first half and Jack Grealish added a brace in a spectacular result for a team that was nearly relegated last season.
With Villa up three goals at half-time, Souness suggested on Sky Sports that Villa had left their pitch long to prevent Liverpool from playing their usual passing game.
"What I would say, Villa, and it's the same for both teams, I think they've left the grass longer than normal to slow Liverpool's movement," Souness said. "All the top teams want short grass, a fast pitch. That doesn't look like a fast pitch to me."
Hutton, who spent eight seasons at Villa Park during his playing career, did not take kindly to his fellow Scot's accusations against his former club.
“Graeme Souness is a Rangers legend in my eyes so I don’t really like to go against him but that was a bit of nonsense. I just think he was trying to pick holes in it," Hutton told Football Insider.
“The amount of times I’ve played at Villa Park and the pitch is in pristine condition all year round, there’s not a blade of grass out of place. Villa are not a long-ball team, they’re not a team who just want to hoof it up the pitch, they will play football.
“In my whole time and including now, they would never, ever have played those sort of games. He’s way off the mark with that in my opinion.”
Liverpool's abject display at Villa Park went beyond the length of the grass, as several simple mistakes in defence led to goals for Villa.
Former Liverpool star John Aldridge was alarmed by what he saw from Jurgen Klopp's side, saying the performance was "like something out of Sunday League football."
“Liverpool were abysmal,” the former Reds striker said in the Liverpool Echo. “You don't like giving the team stick because they are winning so much and bring so much enjoyment. You leave that to the manager. This was alarming though."