Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says that his side’s FA Cup win over Aston Villa saw his players redeem themselves for a “massive mistake” they made in the defeat to Southampton.
The Reds produced a second-half blitz on Friday to get past Villa’s team of youngsters and secure their progression.
The hosts had to field their youth after a coronavirus outbreak in their first-team camp throughout the week.
Nonetheless, Villa put in a spirited performance and had levelled at 1-1 before half time. Louie Barry’s goal came after Liverpool’s failure to add to Sadio Mane’s fourth-minute opener.
Asked by BT Sport if a lack of tempo was down to his side’s struggle to take a bigger advantage Klopp said: “Yeah, pretty much in passing and moving against a deep-defending side.
“We had too many players on the wrong side of the ball, there were not enough receivers for the passes.
“We had situations, crosses, chances, we shot the ball on the goal and in the second half we changed that.
“A bit of a rusty start but [the] second half looked exactly like we wanted it to.”
Klopp was then pressed on his admission that Liverpool were “rusty” – which they proved to be in Monday’s loss at Southampton.
Indeed, Mohamed Salah also netted against Villa but, like Mane, struggled to find top intensity on the south coast.
Asked if Friday’s win allowed his players to shake off their frustrations in front of goal, Klopp said: “That’s different. In Southampton it was completely different.
“It’s a similar problem if you want, but Southampton were from the first second on the pitch more than we were.
“That’s a massive mistake. That was not the case today, so today was absolutely nothing to do with us not being aware of the situation. The boys were there but in the end there’s not a lot to the win.
“It’s getting to the next round and we take it.”
Klopp focusing on huge Man Utd clash
Liverpool now have an eight-day break before they return to action next Sunday. Indeed, they return to Anfield by welcoming Manchester United, who sit joint-top with the Reds in the Premier League table.
However, the Red Devils can move to the summit with victory over Burnley in Tuesday’s game in hand.
Klopp said he intends to use the break to prepare extensively for the crunch clash.
The German added: “It’s very important, we have a lot of players with no rhythm so we will do a lot in 11 v 11 situations because that’s the most important thing for football players.
“Now we have the time and we will use it for that.”