C. Jones

Yellow Card


44′ It goes from bad to worse for Liverpool now as Jones throws a reckless leg out in midfield to cut off a Villa move and gets booked for his troubles. The hosts look absolutely elated. Joyous doesn’t cover the strength of their energy right now.

C. Rowe


Aston Villa

41′ If there were supporters in Villa Park tonight, that would have blown the roof off. This second-string academy side is level against the champions of England. Rowe picked a fantastic pass there.

L. Barry


Aston Villa

41′ GOAL! LOUIE BARRY LEVELS FOR ASTON VILLA! 1-1! MY WORD, THE HOSTS HAVE SQUARED THINGS UP WITH A SUPERB FINISH! Rowe picks up Onodi’s goal-kick, and drags a throughball into space for the striker, who shrugs off Rhys Williams, races to the box and buries it into the bottom-right corner!

38′ Liverpool didn’t have the greatest FA Cup run last term of course; while they made the fifth round last term, they needed a late Jones goal to beat Everton at this stage and were then forced into a replay with Shrewsbury Town. A second goal would make this far more comfortable.

36′ Salah! It is Onodi with the stop again, after the striker dinks around two defenders and curls an effort in off the right edge of the penalty area towards the near post, tipped away for a corner. The forward butchers a follow-up from the set-piece to leave the keeper with an easy catch.

34′ The offside flag comes up for a Villa long ball and Liverpool then head back down the wings, searching for more than simple territorial purchase. Jurgen Klopp may feel his side should have more on the board here. 

32′ Let’s give full credit to Aston Villa here. Liverpool have perhaps eased off the pedal – they’ve played better this season – but they are making a spirited showing despite the gulf in class.

30′ Salah! The Egyptian should do better there, nudging what was a neat cross the wrong way and finding only Onodi rather than the back of the net. A great chance for the Reds man.

28′ A shocking lapse in midfield by Fabinho now though invites Hayden to steal into the Liverpool half and Jones has to act fast to edge his delivery out for a corner. The result is poor from the set-piece but Villa are crafting these half-chances solidly.

26′ Another Liverpool corner now as their latest cross is deflected neatly behind and this time Fabinho is the man with the finish, looping a relatively loose header well over the crossbar.

24′ Save by Onodi! The youngster gets a glove to a low, rifled effort drilled in low through a crowded box and then Bridge counters at blistering pace. Villa win a remarkable corner of their own down the other end, though Kelleher claims safely in the end.

22′ Wijnaldum has another crack at goal for Liverpool now, lashing a shot in with a wicked deflection that spirals out for a corner. Milner taps the set-piece and the Reds ping it back in, but Villa studiously clear it. A second wave comes down the opposite edge; another deflection means another corner.

20′ Hayden! A smart counter from Villa and the hosts have their first half-chance of the game, with the midfielder smashing a strike from outside the box off the first man. A looping follow-up can’t find Chrisene before skipping out of play on the left.

18′ Liverpool are rarely surrendering possession cheaply here – they have had 88 per cent of it so far – but they’re also taking their time, measured in their game plan. Perhaps the peak of success for Villa here will be getting a shot in this match.

16′ Liverpool are rarely surrendering possession cheaply – they have had 88 per cent of it so far – but they’re also taking their time, measured in their game plan. Perhaps the peak of success for Villa here will be getting a shot in this match.

14′ Kelleher gets what is likely to be a rare touch in this game as Liverpool play it back to their own rear third before coming again, placing pressure on the Villa box without crafting a golden chance.

12′ The phrase “training run” might get bandied around a lot with this match, but that will be no excuse to Jurgen Klopp if his side fail to convince. So far, they are comfortably on top though.

10′ Wijnaldum! The Reds should have a second there as a looping pass finds the midfielder in open space inside the penalty area, before he attempts to creatively chip into the top-right corner and puts it wide.

8′ We are a long way from this of course, but the record margin of victory for an FA Cup tie is Preston North End’s 26-0 demolition of Hyde in 1887.

6′ Now it is Milner’s turn to take a knock, as Hayden catches him with an elbow to the jaw after overstepping a delivery. The elder statesmen of this Reds side is good to continue after the accidental blow.

C. Jones



4′ It’s a top-drawer delivery by Jones, albeit the sort of one that, nine times out of 10, would be cleared by the first or second man before it found the mark. Mane looks to have hurt his back in the process though; that’s a potential worry down the line.

S. Mané



4′ GOAL! SADIO MANE HEADS LIVERPOOL INTO THE LEAD! 1-0! It’s taken just over 180 seconds but the Reds are on the front foot. Jones is played in down the right edge and he lofts a lovely cross in to the edge of the six-yard area. Villa’s markers get their placement wrong and the striker nudges neatly in at the near post past Onodi.

3′ Nobody will be surprised that it is one-way traffic in these opening exchanges, Liverpool passing slippery deliveries down both wings and forcing early defensive moves from the youthful hosts.

1′ We are underway in this FA Cup tie between Aston Villa and Liverpool!

The teams are out at Villa Park. Buckle up, folks; this could be a hefty scoreline if Liverpool play the way they can – and arguably should – against what is mostly a bunch of teenagers.

One man who will be feeling the years today? James Milner. There are four players in Villa’s starting XI tonight who were yet to be born when he made his debut for Leeds United in 2002.

There is a perverse reverse to this game of course; just over a year ago, a senior Aston Villa team ran riot in the Carabao Cup against a second-string Liverpool whose best players were at the FIFA Club World Cup. How time flies.

Subs: Alisson, Thiago Alcantara, Roberto Firmino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri, Andy Robertson, Divock Origi, Nathaniel Phillips, Trent Alexander-Arnold.

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Caoimhin Kelleher; Neco Williams, Rhys Williams, Fabinho, James Milner; Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Curtis Jones; Sadio Mane, Takumi Minamino, Mohamed Salah.

Subs: Oliwier Zych, Taylor-Jay Hart, Harrison Sohna, Michael Tait, Callum Rowe, Bradley Young, Sil Swinkels, Frankie Ealing, Hayden Lindley.

ASTON VILLA (4-5-1): Akos Onodi; Jake Walker, Sebastian Revan, Mungo Bridge, Teddy Rowe; Kaine Kesler Hayden, Lamare Bogarde, Mamadou Sylla, Arjan Raikhy, Ben Chrisene; Louie Barry.

It is seven under-23 players and four under-18 players for Villa then, the vast majority of them getting a first taste of senior action. Liverpool meanwhile have refused to go easy given the circumstances: Mohamed Salah, Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane start.

Jurgen Klopp on the other hand – smarting, no doubt, from that blow to his side’s title defence against Southampton on Monday – is able to call upon a clutch of big names, though it still doesn’t truly solve his mounting centre-back injury problem.

Gone are the first-team faces who helped Dean Smith’s side to a seismic 7-2 rout in October – as indeed, is Smith. In fact, with 14 positive cases and likely more to come, it’s effectively an under-23s side led by their coach Mark Delaney.

24 hours ago, a major question mark loomed over whether we would be even seeing this game following a major Covid-19 outbreak amid the hosts’ ranks. The match is on – but it will look different even by pandemic standards.

Hello and welcome to live coverage of the 2020-21 FA Cup as Premier League champions Liverpool face off with depleted top-flight rivals Aston Villa in a third-round clash at Villa Park.