Jurgen Klopp admits ‘I have never had this kind of challenge in my life’ as he tried to get Liverpool ready for Aston Villa’s inexperienced side and praised the opposition after 4-1 FA Cup victory
- Liverpool progressed to the FA Cup fourth round on Friday by beating Aston Villa
- The hosts had been savaged by a Covid-19 outbreak in their first-team squad
- The Reds won 4-1 against an XI of youngsters, but Jurgen Klopp called in ‘tricky’
Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool’s FA Cup third-round tie was a step into the unknown after his side emerged with a 4-1 win over Aston Villa’s kids.
Sadio Mane’s double and goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and Mo Salah sent the Reds through to the fourth round.
But the Premier League champions were stunned when Louie Barry equalised for the coronavirus-hit hosts before the break.
Jurgen Klopp has admitted he has never faced a challenge like Aston Villa’s youngsters
Liverpool eventually got through the squad of under-23s with a rampant second-half display
Villa called on their youngsters after nine players and five staff caught Covid-19. None of the senior squad were involved and the game was in doubt until Friday morning after the club shut their training ground on Thursday.
Manager Dean Smith was also absent and Klopp, who started Salah, Mane, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and James Milner, conceded he did not know how to prepare against Villa.
He said: ‘It was a tricky one. I have never had this kind of challenge in my life when you have no idea who you are playing. All our preparations for the game went in the bin and we had to start again.
The German struggled to know how to prepare for the squad after Villa’s Covid-19 outbreak
‘We scored an early goal and then didn’t play quickly enough and didn’t move fast enough. These are football problems and we solved them with football in the second half.
‘Academy players are good players. Last year we played here with our kids and they gave Villa a proper game as well. If you don’t play well you have problems, but in the second half we played like we should have done from the beginning.
‘We trust the authorities. Our test results came back yesterday and everyone was negative. They did what they thought was right with their under-23s and everything is fine.’
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