Aston Villa 1-4 Liverpool: Jürgen Klopp’s reaction

Jürgen Klopp was pleased with Liverpool’s second-half response as they beat a youthful Aston Villa team 4-1 in the FA Cup on Friday night.

The Reds took a fourth-minute lead in the third-round tie at Villa Park through Sadio Mane but were pegged back before the break as Louie Barry bagged for the hosts.

A more clinical showing after the interval ensured a place in the next round, however, with Georginio Wijnaldum, Mane again and Mohamed Salah on target.

Read Klopp’s verdict on the evening at his post-match press conference below…

On Liverpool’s performance and the challenge presented by Villa…

It’s the same, pretty much – the boys did really well, the kids of Aston Villa did really well, were organised and all that stuff. It was clear. We scored an early goal, a nice one, and then we didn’t play quick enough anymore, didn’t move fast enough, didn’t play the right spaces. These are football problems and we solved the football problems with football in the second half. So, I’m really fine with it. It was a tricky one. I’ve never before had this kind of challenge in my life, that you have no idea who you’re playing against – absolutely no idea; that you prepare a meeting and then you can throw all the preparation, all the videos in the bin and then you have to start new. That’s football and academy players are good players. Last year we played here with our kids and they gave Aston Villa a proper game as well. That’s just how it is. These young kids can all play football and if you don’t play well against them you have problems. Second half, we played exactly like we should have played from the beginning and that’s why we won really, the right way.

On whether there were any reservations about playing the game and if Jordan Henderson going off at half-time was due to an injury…

No, no, Hendo and Thiago was clear before the game that we do it like this: 45, 45. Absolutely no problem. And no, no reservations. We trust the authorities, we had our test results come back yesterday as well, everybody was negative. Then the FA did what they thought is right with the U23s, they got tested, we got their results this morning I think at 10 o’clock. We were on the car park at the airport. So, then everything is fine.

On starting Takumi Minamino on the left and Mane in the middle, and his assessment of Minamino’s performance…

We trained it like this and we prepared it for the Aston Villa first team. We wanted Sadio much more keeping the centre-halves together pretty much, offering and being a threat in behind the last line. And using Taki actually, offensively, completely on his position, between the lines on a rather No.10 position, slightly more the left side, that’s all. But then they obviously had to change, but Sadio can play the position, Taki can play the other position as well because there is not a big change for him, he is just an offensive player and can move in his comfortable areas.