Liverpool secured their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup after beating a young Aston Villa side 4-1 at Villa Park on Friday night.
The hosts were forced to play their U23 side after an outbreak of the virus at Boodymoor Heath training ground earlier this week and the youngsters put up a great fight, with the scores level at half-time.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s side emphasised their greater experience and quality in the second-half and three quickfire goals would ensure the Reds’ progression.
There will still be cause for concern that for 45 minutes, Villa’s youngsters were a match for Liverpool’s stars, with Louie Barry deservedly bringing the home side level shortly before half-time, with some of Klopp’s side perhaps cruising slightly after Sadio Mane’s early opener.
Despite scoring twice in the game at Villa Park, the former Southampton man’s overall performance was nowhere near his usual standard.
As per SofaScore, the winger would lose possession 22 times during his time on the pitch, which was the most of any Liverpool player.
After the 28-year-old headed the Reds in front early on, he drifted out of the game somewhat, as he was only able to complete 21 of his 35 attempted passes during the game, resulting in a less than impressive pass accuracy rate of 66%.
Mane was also unsuccessful in both of his dribble attempts, whilst he won just six of his 13 total duels during the game, with the Villa youngsters perhaps putting up more of a fight than the Senegalese international expected.
The £108 million-rated forward also failed to find a Liverpool shirt with any of his five attempted crosses suggesting that from a creative point of view, he struggled against the Villans.
Therefore, despite his looping header to score Liverpool’s third goal, Mane should be disappointed with his overall performance against Villa, as he was often second best against the inexperienced home defenders.