Liverpool Fc progressed to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup 2020-21 after comfortably beating the hosts Aston Villa Fc 1-4.
For the FA Cup Third Round Tie with the hosts Aston Villa Fc (The Villa), Jürgen Klopp made 6 changes to the Liverpool Fc (The Reds) Team that faced the hosts Southampton Fc in the Premier League.
For the Reds, Caoimhin Kelleher came in between the sticks instead of Alisson Becker. Neco Williams started at Right Back while James Milner started at Left Back. Rhys Williams partnered Fabinho at Centre Back.
Curtis Jones was named in the Midfield alongside Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson. Takumi Minamino formed part of the Front Three alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané.
With Klopp having the opportunity to utilise 5 Substitutions in the FA Cup this Season, Thiago Alcântara and Roberto Firmino was part of the strong bench.
Due to a major COVID-19 outbreak in the First Team Squad prior to the Match, the Villa Team were packed with Under-23 and Under-18 Players.
The Reds got the early lead in the 3rd minute as a floated cross from Curtis Jones was headed by Mané.
This game also began to show the Reds lack of ruthlessness as chances went begging.
The score should be have 0-2 but Wijnaldum side footed his shot following an assist from Salah in the 10th minute.
There was early warning signs from the Young Villa side as Kaine Hayden’s shot was blocked after an assist from Lamar Bogarde in the 19th minute.
Salah missed his shot after a headed pass by Fabinho in the 36th minute.
The Young Villa side equalised as Loie Barry raced clear past after outmuscling Rhys Williams and neat curled the ball into the bottom right corner of the net in the 41st minute.
With seconds away from the Half Time, Curtis Jones had shot his saved by Akos Onodi after an assist from Fabinho.
The Young Villa side especially Onodi made several saves and weathered the storm from Reds attack to keep the score levelled 1-1 at First Half.
This was truly shameful from the Reds as they should have wrapped the game before the Half Time.
Captain Jordan Henderson was replaced by Thiago before the Second Half as the Reds looked to assert themselves.
The Reds restored the lead 1-2 in the 60th minute as Wijnaldum struck after Minamino lay off the ball in the path of the Dutchman.
Roberto Firmino and Xherdan Shaqiri replaced Curtis Jones and Takumi Minamino shortly afterwards in the 61st minute.
In the 63rd minute, Shaqiri provided a sumptuous cross and Mané loops a header to the bottom right corner of the net to make 1-3 for the Reds.
Salah made it 1-4 for the Reds as the Egyptian swivelled on the ball from Shaqiri’s pass and fired home.
The Young Villa side looked subdued and deflated by then. Yet, Hats off to them as they hung on.
Mané and Salah made way for Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 73rd minute.
The Reds could have added few more Goals but did not capitalise on their chances.
Firmino missed his shot to the left following an assist from James Milner in the 84th minute.
Kudos to the Young Villa Side as they avoided an humiliating defeat with the Match ended at 1-4.
Reds Team Performance Ratings
Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)
Caoimhin Kelleher – 5: Held a few catches and could not do much about the Equalising Goal. The youngster was just a mere spectator watching the Reds attack.
Nico Williams – 5: Almost set up the Goal for Salah. Regularly went forward but his quality of his crosses were nowhere near the standards of Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Rhys Williams – 5: Easily got beaten for pace by Loie Barry that led to the equalising Goal in the First Half and struggled a bit when the youngster was under pressure.
Fabinho – 6: Dispossessed once during the First Half but with better Players introduced the Second Half, the Brazilian looked much more sharper in defence.
James Milner – 6: The Industrious Veteran provided the attacking outlet and constantly looked to get the ball in the box.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 6: Missed a great chance to score during the First Half and scored the Second Goal for the Reds. Energetic display for the Dutchman.
Jordan Henderson – 4: Gave the ball away cheaply to the Young Villa Side and missed the crucial tackle that led to the equalising Goal during the First Half. The Captain was subbed before the Second Half began.
Curtis Jones – 5: Provided the cross that led to the opening Goal, struggled and picked up a Yellow Card during the First Half.
Sadio Mané– 7: Scored the brace with a clinical header during the First Half and looped header during the Second Half.
Takumi Minamino – 5: Struggled to make an impact and his last touch of the Game resulted in the Second Goal for the Reds.
Mohamed Salah – 6: Struggled and missed the chance to score during the First Half. Improved during the Second Half by contributing to the pass that eventually led to the Second Goal and scored a Goal.
Thiago Alcântara – 8: Replaced Henderson before the Second Half began. The Spaniard showed his range of passes and vision. Came close to scoring but rattled the bar.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 7: The Swiss made an instant impact and provided 2 assists.
Roberto Firmino – 6: Didn’t expect to be called upon, came close to scoring and kept the Reds on the Front Foot.
Divock Origi – N/A: Brought on to bring more pace into the attack and provided the assist to Firmino but the Brazilian missed his target.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain– N/A: Came close to scoring but missed his shot with Match edging close to finishing.
Jürgen Klopp – 7: There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the game due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Aston Villa Fc First Team.
Yet, the German Coach surprisingly named a strong team to face a Makeshift Players packed with Under-18 and Under-21 Players.
Klopp introduced Thiago and Shaqiri at the right time during the Second Half. The Match was won by them especially within minutes after Shaqiri was introduced.
Klopp will now shift his focus on guiding the Reds for their next Match against Manchester United Fc in the Premier League on 17 January 2021.
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