Although the hosts were forced to play a number of youth players due to a COVID outbreak at Aston Villa’s training complex, Jurgen Klopp still stuck with a number of his key players and in the end they made the difference.
But who were the standout performers in the contest?
✔️ GOOD PERFORMANCE
Mohamed Salah: 8.3
Always threatening from distance, Salah eventually got his legitimate goal in the 65th minute when he latched on to a precise through ball from Xherdan Shaqiri before firing home a truly unstoppable shot into the bottom right corner.
Only Sadio Mane managed to hit more shots than Salah on the night and no other player on the pitch had more touches of the ball in the box than the Egyptian forward.
Xherdan Shaqiri: 7.9
With just 10 appearances and 448 minute of football prior to Friday’s clash, it’s easy to forget that Xherdan Shaqiri is not only a vital part of Klopp’s Liverpool squad but is also a tremendous player in his own right.
Fortunately for Liverpool fans, the tricky winger was on hand to showcase his talents when he came on in the 61st minute and quickly set up two goals in the space of two minutes. Not only did his exceptional assists add to Liverpool’s lead but they also stretched it beyond anything Villa could match. Shaqiri effectively confirmed the win for Liverpool on the night.
⭐ STAR MAN
Sadio Mane: 9.1
In a match that could have easily gone so wrong for Liverpool, Klopp will be grateful for having Sadio Mane on hand to calmly and confidently put Villa to the sword with his typical clinical finishing in front of goal.
It only took Mane four minutes to strike, when he leaped above his marker and headed a cross home with relative ease after planting a perfect header inside the right post.
Although Villa put up a strong fight in the first half, Liverpool eventually broke them down and it was then just after the hour mark that Sane once again latched on to the end of another cross to header in another goal.
While a number of Liverpool stars managed to get on the score sheet on the night, it was the Senegalese forward who really drove Klopp’s team on in a match that could have seen them succumb to complacency.