Jurgen Klopp admitted that his side had problems with “passing and moving”, but he praised Aston Villa’s youngsters who did “really well”.
Liverpool made the perfect start as they were in front after just four minutes. Curtis Jones was played in down the right hand side before he lofted it towards Sadio Mane. The forward made no mistake as he headed home to give the Reds the lead.
Villa fought valiantly in the first half and their hard work was rewarded with an equaliser. Louie Barry got on the end of a pinpoint through ball from Callum Rowe.
The forward got the better of Rhys Williams before he finished it brilliantly past Caoimhin Kelleher in goal to make it 1-1.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had to wait until the 60th minute, but their pressure did eventually pay dividends. Georginio Wijnaldum finished emphatically after it was pulled back for him by Takumi Minamino.
Liverpool’s advantage was doubled three minutes later. Mane got his second of the game as his looping header evaded Akos Onodi.
Mo Salah got Liverpool’s third goal in just five minutes with 25 minutes remaining. Xherdan Shaqiri nudged it onto the Eqypt international who turned quickly and finished into the bottom corner.
It finished 4-1 after a ruthless spell from Liverpool in the second half. Villa’s youngsters can hold their heads high after tonight’s fearless showing, though.
Speaking post-match with BT Sport, as cited by BBC Sport, Klopp was pleased with his side’s improvements in the second half:
“The kids did really well – that’s good. We had football problems. We needed a little bit longer but then it was completely clear.
“Problems in passing and moving. Too many on the wrong side of the ball – not enough recoveries of passes. We had chances and shot the ball directly at the goalie – we changed it in the second half.
“It was rusty but better in the second half. Against Southampton [1-0 defeat] from the first second they were more on the pitch but that was not the case today.”
[On the nine day break before playing Man United] “We have a lot players with no rhythm. We will do a lot of 11 v 11 training.”