Gini Wijnaldum has lifted the lid on Liverpool's half-time team talk during the FA Cup clash with Aston Villa's youngsters.
Villa were forced to field a team of Under-23 and Under-18 players for Friday's third-round tie due to a coronavirus outbreak in the first-team bubble.
Many expected the youngsters – who had an average age of 18 years and 294 days – would be blown out of the water by a strong Liverpool team.
But the teams entered the interval all square, as 17-year-old striker Louie Barry scored a remarkable goal for the hosts to cancel out Sadio Mane's opener at Villa Park.
Although it was an embarrassing goal for Liverpool to concede, Wijnaldum insists there was a relaxed atmosphere among the players at half-time.
“We stayed calm and we stayed calm in the dressing room,” the midfielder told Liverpool's official website.
“We said we shouldn’t go crazy and shouldn’t lose confidence because for the first half an hour we did quite well and created chances but we didn’t score them.
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"After that the counter-press was not that good so I think it was a deserved goal from them because we didn’t defend it well.
“That’s what you get in football, because when you don’t defend well then the other team, especially with their quality, can create chances and that’s what happened and they scored a goal.
“There’s a lot of things that can happen against any team so that’s what we said at half-time and we just changed a few things around.”
Liverpool's composure at the interval paid dividends, as they retook the lead through Wijnaldum's strike on the hour mark.
Mane added his second on 63 minutes and Mohamed Salah struck two minutes later as the Reds wrapped up their progression to the FA Cup fourth round.
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