Liverpool returned to winning ways when they faced Aston Villa in the FA Cup last Friday. The Reds are currently enduring their worst league form in over three years but their latest win offers some respite for Jurgen Klopp's side.
Going into the FA Cup tie, Klopp’s team had won just two of their last seven games in all competitions and had failed to register a win in their last three Premier League games.
However, they put their porous form behind them on Friday. Goals from Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Georginio Wijnaldum saw the Reds come from behind to beat Aston Villa 4-1.
Liverpool’s poor form has seen their rivals catch up with them in the league. Manchester United are now level on points with the Reds at the top of the Premier League table despite having a game in hand.
To this end, the Reds have been lacking in confidence and the win against Aston Villa comes as a timely morale-booster ahead of their crucial top-of-the-table clash against Manchester United on Sunday.
Aston Villa win offers morale boost for struggling Liverpool
Liverpool have seen their title defence unravel, with Manchester United and Manchester City currently on their tails. However, the FA Cup game couldn’t have come at a better time, as it offered a timely morale boost for the club.
Aston Villa are one of the Premier League’s toughest sides this season. The team was forced to field their U-23s squad as ten members of the squad tested positive for COVID-19.
Villa would definitely have troubled Liverpool if their first-team was available. However, by using their U-23 players, they all but ceded the game to Klopp’s side. Despite the gallant youngsters putting up a fight, it was only a matter of time before Liverpool’s goal-fest began.
After going three games in the league without a win, the Reds were desperately in need of a result and a couple of goals. They were not at their best, but scoring four times would have improved the players' moods.
A chance to win the FA Cup
Liverpool have won all the big trophies available in the last two and a half years. They have won the Premier League, the Champions League and the Club World Cup.
However, one trophy missing from Klopp’s locker is the FA Cup. Indeed, it is the trophy that the Reds have failed to win in more than a decade and a half. By playing his full squad against Aston Villa’s U-23 side, the German showed that he was taking the FA Cup seriously this time around.
Klopp was impressed by Villa's youngsters but stated his side were the better team in the second half.
“It’s the same, pretty much – the boys did really well, the kids of Aston Villa did really well. They were organised and all that stuff. It was clear,” Klopp said after the game, as quoted by Liverpoolfc.com.
“We scored an early goal, a nice one, and then we didn’t play quick enough anymore. We 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," noted Klopp.
The German himself has admitted that the standards at Liverpool have fallen in recent weeks. Winning the FA Cup at the end of the season could end up being a huge achievement for the Merseyside club.Published 11 Jan 2021, 22:08 IST