Liverpool shook off a wobbly first half to cruise into the FA Cup fourth round with a 4-1 win over Aston Villa’s young squad.
The Reds took an early lead when Sadio Mane headed in from Curtis Jones’ cross after just four minutes and dominated the possession in the first half. Villa defended admirably though and got a shock equaliser five minutes before half time when Louie Barry raced clear and slotted into the corner.
Jurgen Klopp’s side upped the tempo in the second half and re-took the lead thanks to Gini Wijnaldum on the hour mark, before another fine header from Mane two minutes later made it 3-1. Mo Salah made it 4-1 with a low strike just two minutes after that to put the game beyond Villa’s youngsters.
Akos Onodi (GK) – 5/10 – Excellent double save in the first half but couldn’t do much about any of the goals.
Jake Walker (RB) – 5/10 – Had a great first half against Minamino but Mane showed him the levels in the second half.
Mungo Bridge (CB) – 6/10 – Defended well throughout the game and made more successful tackles than any other Villa player (3).
Dominic Revan (CB) – 7/10 – The captain led by example and dealt well with most things, but Liverpool’s class shone through.
Callum Rowe (LB) – 6/10 – Played a stunning through ball for the equaliser and did well against Mo Salah for the most part before cramp got the better of him.
Kaine Hayden (RM) – 6/10 – Did well to get forward down the right on occasion and looks to have a bright future.
Mamadou Dialla Sylla (CM) – 6/10 – A strong showing in the first half defensively, including a great challenge on Henderson to deny him a chance. Got leggy in the second half though.
Arjan Raikhy (CM) – 5/10 – A decent showing but more attack minded and struggled without the ball.
Lamare Bogarde (CM) – 5/10 – Playing out of position and worked really hard but the level was just too high.
Benjamin Chrisene (LM) – 5/10 – The young attacker worked hard throughout but usually does his best work with the ball. Subbed after an hour.
Louie Barry (ST) – 7/10 – Looked confident all night and got a well deserved goal just before half-time. A real, quality prospect.
Brad Young (LM) – 5/10 – Didn’t get the chance to showcase his talents really, but had a lovely pirouette in the penalty area that will live long in his memory.
Harrison Sohna (CM) – 5/10 – Came on when the game was already over in fairness, but showed good energy throughout.
Hayden Lindley (CM) – 5/10 – Much like Sohna, the game was over when he came on but didn’t do anything wrong while on the pitch.
Teddy Rowe – N/A
Sil Swinkels – N/A
Caoimhin Kelleher (GK) – 5/10 – Probably could’ve had the night off, in fairness. Couldn’t do much about the goal he conceded.
Nico Williams (RB) – 6/10 – Was a threat down the wing all night and didn’t have much defending to do, but his end product was lacking.
Rhys Williams (CB) – 5/10 – Running in quicksand for Villa’s goal, but other than was assured in possession.
Fabinho (CB) – 7/10 – Aerial threat all night in the Villa box and made it clear he was a midfielder naturally, completing 95% of his passes.
James Milner (LB) – 6/10 – More than competent showing at left-back, led by example all night by not giving up anything easily. Won more tackles than anyone else on the night with five.
Jordan Henderson (DM) – 5/10 – The skipper bossed the ball in the first half, making more passes than anyone else in the first half. Was brought off at half time with the scores level.
Gini Wijnaldum (CM) – 6/10 – Missed a huge chance in the first half but made amends in the second by giving Liverpool the lead again.
Curtis Jones (CM) – 6/10 – Got the assist for the opener but was a bit too casual in possession for the most part. Had a good effort saved before half-time too.
Mohamed Salah (RW) – 6/10 – Was pretty quiet by his own high standards but still got on the scoresheet with a fine low strike.
Sadio Mane (ST) – 8/10 – Got the all important first and third goals for Liverpool. The game changed when he went to the left wing in the second half and he showed his class.
Takumi Minamino (LW) – 5/10 – Had barely any effect on the game and missed a big opportunity to stake a claim for more regular minutes.
Thiago (CM) – 7/10 – Showed that he is quite comfortably the best midfielder in the Liverpool squad. Any of the young Villans would be happy to make it to his level one day.
Xherdan Shaqiri (RW) – 7/10 – Made an instant impact, getting two assists for Mane’s second and Salah’s goal moments after coming on the pitch.
Roberto Firmino – N/A
Divock Origi – N/A
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – N/A