Photo Credit: Getty Images.
Sadio Mane scored twice as Liverpool eased past a youthful Aston Villa side 4-1 in their FA Cup third-round tie at Villa Park on Friday night.
Aston Villa fielded a heavily rotated XI due in part to a COVID-19 outbreak at the club -- with manager Dean Smith not on the sidelines -- while Liverpool also rested some regulars for the tie.
But despite conceding in the fourth minute when Sadio Mane headed in, they remained resolute in defence for the rest of the half and then stunned the visitors when 17-year-old Louie Barry equalised.
The England Under-17 striker, born just a few miles from Villa Park, signed for the club last January for more than £800,000 having had a spell with Barcelona's academy. His composed finish four minutes before the break was as assured as would be expected from Lionel Messi.
Unfortunately for Villa, the youngsters tired and the Reds exerted more pressure in the second half, scoring three goals in a five-minute spell after the break.
Georginio Wijnaldum stroked in Liverpool's second on the hour mark before Mane looped in a header and Mohamed Salah struck home a low shot from inside the area.
A penny for the thoughts of the Villa youngsters when they were told they would be lining up against the likes of Salah, Mane and Jordan Henderson.
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