Football: Liverpool rout depleted Aston Villa to advance in FA Cup

Liverpool have strolled into the FA Cup fourth round with a 4-1 win at an understrength Aston Villa on Saturday (NZ time), after the home side were forced to field academy players due to a mass COVID-19 outbreak among their ranks.

Sadio Mane scored twice for the English champions while Georginio Wijnaldum and Mohamed Salah added one each to cancel out a fine goal by Villa's 17-year-old striker Louie Barry, who netted on his senior debut for the Midlands side.

Barry enjoyed a moment of glory when he levelled after Mane's early opener but Liverpool put the game out of Villa's reach as they scored three times in five minutes midway through the second half.

Villa's U-23 coach Mark Delaney took charge of the game instead of first-team manager Dean Smith and the club also closed their training ground on Friday, after nine players and five staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

In the evening's other fixture, Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Crystal Palace 1-0 thanks to Adama Traore's 35th-minute strike, as he beat visiting keeper Jack Butland with a thunderbolt from the edge of the penalty area.