Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits that Aston Villa’s young side proved more challenging to his Premier League champions than they perhaps should have done.
Villa were forced to play an entire youth team for their FA Cup clash with the Anfield club and looked determined to cause an upset when Louie Barry ran through on goal and scored an equaliser just four minutes before half time to rule out Sadio Mane’s opener.
Klopp’s team even won the game with relative comfort, through second half goals from Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum and Mohamed Salah.
However, the Liverpool manager admits that his side looked rusty and against a determined, youthful side they made hard work of the game in the opening 45 minutes.
“It was a little more of a challenge than it should have been,” Klopp told BT Sports directly after the match.
“First of all, we have to say that the kids did really well. So that’s good. They scored a nice goal. From that moment on we didn’t pass with the right speed.
“We had football problems and we sorted that out in the second half. We solved the football problems with football. So that was good.
“We needed a bit longer but then it was completely clear, we were completely confident and it was exactly as it should have been.”
“The problem was in tempo. In passing and in moving the ball against a defensive side. We had too many players behind or on the wrong side of the ball for the passes. There weren’t enough receivers, if you will.”