Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said preparing to face a youthful Aston Villa team in Friday’s FA Cup third-round clash presented a challenge he had never faced before, but the German was pleased after his side emerged with a 4-1 win.

Villa was forced to field academy players due to a mass COVID-19 outbreak among its ranks, with Under-23 coach Mark Delaney taking charge of the game instead of first-team manager Dean Smith.

Sadio Mane scored twice while Georginio Wijnaldum and Mohamed Salah added one each to cancel out a fine goal by Villa’s 17-year-old striker Louie Barry and send Liverpool into the fourth round.

“The kids of Villa did really well,” Klopp told reporters. “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.”

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