Gini Wijnaldum admits Liverpool squad would've rather faced Aston Villa's senior side

LFC Globe
9th January 2021
Gini Wijnaldum

was pleased with Liverpool's performance as they beat 4-1 to progress to the fourth round on Friday night.

The Reds took an early lead through Sadio Mane as they looked set to rack up the goals against Aston Villa's youth side after their senior squad was forced to sit out due to a coronavirus outbreak this week.

But the youngsters performed admirably and fought back into the game, with 17-year-old Louie Barry netting an equaliser just before half-time.

Liverpool's quality eventually shone through in the second half as they scored three goals in less than five minutes to clinch the .

Wijnaldum put the Reds 2-1 ahead from a side-footed finish from the outside of the box before Sadio Mane and both bagged to clinch progression to the fourth round.

The Dutchman spoke to LFCTV after the game at Villa Park as he offered his assessment of the Reds assessment. Read on for everything the Reds midfielder had to say...

On how challenging Aston Villa's youngsters made it...

"It's difficult. I wouldn't say it's a horrible match to play but it's a really difficult match to play because everyone from outside expects us to the game with a lot of goals.

"But it's not that easy because we play a team that has nothing to lose, who give everything they've got to make it as difficult as possible.

"I think everyone in our team preferred to play [Aston Villa's] first-team but because of the circumstances, it wasn't possible."

On Villa scoring an equaliser...

"We stayed calm. We were calm in the dressing room and we said we wouldn't go crazy or lose confidence because in the first half-hour we did quite well and created lots of chances, although we didn't score them.

"After that, our counter-press wasn't that good so it was a deserved goal for them because we didn't defend too well.

Gini Wijnaldum

Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images

"That's what you get in football - if you don't defend well then the other team, especially if they have quality, can create chances and that's what happened.

"These are all things that can happen against any team, so that's what we said at half-time.

On how important it was to score four goals after a recent barren run...

"These things can happen. It's more the case we haven't created a lot of chances rather than scoring goals. Everyone who knows us knows we are used to scoring goals and we're used to creating a lot of chances.

"Football is changing, teams are changing. Teams are getting better and teams are analysing us. They also know our strengths and they have a gameplan. We just have to make sure that we're still able to create chances.

Liverpool Aston Villa

Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images

"These things happen but like I just said, everyone is used to seeing us create a lot of chances and scoring a lot of goals, especially after we scored seven goals at Crystal Palace.

"But we don't play against teams that are bad. We play against good teams and they analyse us. It's even more difficult than the years before. These things happen but we just need to make sure we can change something."

On the FA Cup's priority to Liverpool this season...

"We said at the start of the season we would play for everything. It's difficult to play every game with the strongest team because during the season you have to play so many games, especially now; you have to rotate a lot.

"But I thought we did well today and I hope we can do as well in the next couple of games because this is another competition we want to win. We've won a lot, but we haven't won the FA Cup so we'd like to win it this time."

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