Aston Villa appear to troll Liverpool with perfectly-timed tweet reminding them of youthful side featuring 16 debutants forced to face full-strength Reds in the FA Cup last season… as Anfield club try to get Arsenal Carabao Cup clash postponed
Aston Villa have appeared to troll Liverpool with an immaculately-timed tweet about having little choice but to field a weakened side.
Their official Twitter account posted a picture of the very youthful Villa side sent out to face Liverpool in the FA Cup third round last season after a Covid-19 outbreak at the training ground wiped out their entire first-team squad.
16 debuts were handed out that day with Villa fielding a starting line-up with seven under-23 players and four from the under-18s. Five others came off the bench to make debuts.
Aston Villa posted a tweet referencing the youthful team featuring 16 debutants that played against Liverpool in the FA Cup third round last season amid a Covid outbreak at the club
The timing was perfect given Liverpool are currently trying to get Thursday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg tie with Arsenal postponed after a Covid outbreak of their own
The Villa side, comprised of under-23 and under-18 players, lost 4-1 to Liverpool last January
Remarkably, the tie last January was level at half-time after 17-year-old Louie Barry cancelled out Sadio Mane’s early goal before Liverpool’s full-strength team went on to win 4-1.
The Twitter post comes as Liverpool attempt to get Thursday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg tie against Arsenal postponed following a Covid outbreak that has closed their Kirkby training base.
Villa fans were quick to accuse the Anfield club of double standards in the comments given their team were given little choice but to use any available players to fulfil the match last year.
The Football Association made clear at the time that any club capable of mustering 14 players would be expected to fulfil the tie or forfeit their place amid a congested fixture schedule.
17-year-old Louie Barry equalised for the young Villa side before Liverpool went on to win
Liverpool have had to shut down their Kirkby training centre with Covid rapidly spreading
Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders tested positive for Covid as their outbreak worsens
Liverpool’s plans for the semi-final are in disarray after their training centre was shut down on Wednesday morning.
The move came after it emerged Pep Lijnders, the club’s assistant manager, had joined manager Jurgen Klopp in testing positive for the virus.
Lijnders isn’t alone, however, with further cases amongst the Liverpool playing staff to add to Joel Matip, Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino, who tested positive ahead of Sunday’s trip to Chelsea.
With Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, Harvey Elliott and Thiago Alcantara injured and Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita at the Africa Cup of Nations, Liverpool applied to the EFL for the match at the Emirates Stadium to be called off.
Football fans on Twitter were quick to appreciate the perfect timing of Villa’s tweet
However, as plenty of Liverpool fans pointed out, they themselves were left with little choice but to play a weakened team at Villa Park when the sides met in the 2019-20 Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
The game was played the day before Liverpool’s FIFA Club World Cup semi-final and most first-choice players had already flown to Qatar. Liverpool lost 5-0 to Villa.
Villa, who are managed by Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard, travel to Manchester United on Monday night for their FA Cup third round tie.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are scheduled to host League One side Shrewsbury Town on Sunday but the Covid outbreak must surely also place that game in doubt.
In 2019, a young Liverpool team was forced to take on Villa in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals with the regulars in Qatar for the FIFA Club World Cup