With Aston Villa’s first-team squad unavailable for selection due to Covid protocol, Liverpool entered the third round of the FA Cup knowing that they really should face no real problems whatsoever against a side consisting of teenagers.
An early Sadio Mané goal hinted at the floodgates being ready to open, but – as the first-half dragged on – the hosts remained tight, before they hit the world champions on the counter-attack to level the scoring.
Half-time saw Jürgen Klopp’s headline summer signing, Thiago Alcântara, enter the fray, and the Spanish international was the first to make the clear gap between the teams in terms of experience and ability really tell.
Gini Wijnaldum regained the lead with the instep of his right boot, and soon Mané hooked home a second header.
Mo Salah then completed the scoring, Xherdan Shaqiri registering his second assist in a matter of minutes.
While the 4-1 win didn’t flatter Liverpool, the first-half performance was embarrassing against a team so lacking in senior experience.
Still, the winless run is over, and Thiago Alcântara is some player.
Your ratings, as Liverpool progressed in the FA Cup:
Queev 6.5 – I have literally no comment to give.
Neco 6 – No major errors but at no point stood out positively.
Rhys 5.5 – Dreadful for the Villa goal, quite honestly.
Fab 7 – Did everything but score from offensive set-pieces. Hardly tested defensively.
Milly 6 – Always looks slightly clumsy when shoehorned into a left-back role.
CJ 6 – Pinpoint cross for opener, but disappointing otherwise.
Hendo 5.5 – Continues to try to force the pass at the moment, and doing so can prevent his team from sustaining pressure. The skipper’s worst run of form in well over a year.Embed from Getty Images
Gini 6 – Goal was well taken, but only evened out a missed sitter early on. Didn’t progress midfield play as much as you would hope against such inexperienced opposition.
Mo 6 – Not involved enough in the first-half, and the Egyptian’s shot was saved when he could have passed as his team had a counter-attacking overload. Good finish to make it four, though.
Taki 6 – Equally not involved enough but nice pass into Wijnaldum for the Liverpool second.
Sadio 7 – The best of the bunch amongst the visitors’ attacking trio. Two headers were perfectly placed.
ThiaGOAT 8 – Turned a poor, dragging performance into a comfortable win. Looked a class above every other player on the pitch. Man of the match.
Little Shaq 7.5 – Two quick-fire assists were crucial.
Bobby 6 – Touch was off.
Divvy 6 – Continues to look out of place during his occasional appearances.
Ox 6.5 – Not much of note.
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