LONDON — Three goals in five minutes after the hour mark guided Liverpool to a comfortable 4-1 victory over Aston Villa in the FA Cup on Friday, while Wolves edged Crystal Palace in the day’s other cup game.
Aston Villa and Liverpool went into the halftime break locked at 1-1 after Sadio Mane saw his fourth-minute opener for the Reds canceled out by Louie Barry in the 41st minute.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa FA Cup Highlights
However, after the break, Liverpool showed their superior quality as second-half strikes from midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum (60), Mane (63) and fellow forward Mohamed Salah (65) ensured there would be no upset.
“We scored a nice goal but from that moment on we didn’t pass with the right speed,” Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp told BT Sport. “We had football problems and we solved them in the second half with football.”
The win meant Liverpool easily progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup and remain one of the favorites to win the title this season.
Aston Villa fielded a team of mostly academy youngsters after a COVID-19 outbreak in their first-team squad forced manager Dean Smith to field an Under-23 side.
“They put in a shift. We got the result but it wasn’t an ideal situation for either team, Reds’ James Milner told BT Sport. “One of their lads said they hadn’t played for three months.
“We had too many players on the wrong side of the ball. It was a bit of a rusty start but in the second half it was exactly how we wanted it.”
Wolves vs Crystal Palace FA Cup Highlights
Meanwhile, Wolves tagged Crystal Palace 1-0 in the other all English Premier League battle at Molineux Stadium.
A powerful strike from Adama Traore in the 35th minute sealed the victory for Wolves, who now await Monday’s fourth-round draw.
The goal was the first of the season for Traore, who skillfully moved past Eberechi Eze before shifting the ball onto his right foot and powering a shot that flew past goalkeeper Jack Butland from the edge of the penalty area.
Crystal Palace exit the FA Cup at the third-round stage for the second straight season.