Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that he always intended to give Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara 45 minutes each in Friday night’s FA Cup third round victory over Aston Villa, and that there was no injury problem for either player.
Thiago only recently returned from a lengthy injury layoff and is still building up his fitness, having started just one game since his return. For Henderson, it was an important opportunity to rest amid a crowded match schedule.
“Hendo and Thiago, it was clear before the game that we are doing it like this for 45 and 45 years. [injury] problem, ”said Klopp by the Liverpool Echo.
The Liverpool boss also said the Reds had no qualms about playing the game, which was in danger when a coronavirus outbreak in Villa forced the first team and coaching staff into isolation. Instead, Liverpool played a junior team from Villa, all of whom were tested before the game.
“We had our test results and they came back yesterday (Thursday) so everyone was negative and what they did was right with their under 23s,” Klopp commented.
“I think they were tested and got the results at 10 am when we were in the airport parking lot and so it’s okay.”
Sadio Mane gave Liverpool an early fourth-minute lead, only for Villa to hold on and fight with an equalizer from 17-year-old Louie Barry. But the visitors came off with a flurry of three goals in five minutes after the hour mark to win 4-1.
Georginio Wijnaldum and Mohamed Salah scored on either side of a second for Mane.
With a primary focus on the Premier League and the Champions League, the FA Cup is not a competition in which Liverpool have never done so well under Klopp. The fifth round appearance of last season is the furthest from the time the German was in charge.
The Reds are now in the fourth round and will learn who their opponent is in the draw on Monday January 11 at 7:10 p.m. (GMT). The fixtures will then be played on the weekend of January 23-24, with Liverpool also facing a crowded Premier League schedule.
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