“We won trophies but not the FA Cup – we want that this season”

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The Dutchman has already won the Premier League, Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup during his time at Anfield.

And, after scoring in Friday night’s 4-1 third round victory over a young side from Aston Villa, he underscored the desire of Jürgen Klopp’s side to become the first Reds team since 2006 to lift the FA Cup.

“We said at the start of the season that we wanted to play for everything,” Wijnaldum told Liverpoolfc.com.

“Of course, it’s difficult to play everything with your strongest team because during the season you play so many games, especially now, and you have to shoot a lot.

“But I think we did well [against Villa] and I hope we can do well in the next round because it’s a competition that we also want to win. We’ve won a lot but we haven’t won the FA Cup, so we want to do it.

A COVID-19 outbreak in Villa’s first-team squad has meant the Midlands club have fielded a team of academy players at Villa Park, with Wijnaldum explaining why this presented an unusual challenge for visitors.

“It’s tough… it’s a really tough game to play because everyone on the outside just expects us to win this game with a lot of goals,” said the No.5.

“It’s not that easy and also because you are playing against a team that has nothing to lose and that will give it their all, they have to make it as difficult as possible for us.

“We are aware that we played against a team under 23, but it is difficult. I think everyone in our team preferred to play their first team, but due to the circumstances it was not possible.

Wijnaldum was joined on the scoresheet by twice-scoring Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah as the Reds ended a two-game scoreless streak.

“You know these things can happen,” the midfielder noted of their previous offensive bouts.

“I think it was more the case that we didn’t create a lot of chances than to score goals, because I think everyone – and we too – are used to us scoring a lot of goals and create a lot of opportunities for us. .

“But football changes, teams change, teams improve, teams analyze us so that they also know our strengths and they have a game plan. We just have to make sure that even if they have a game plan, we are still able to create opportunities, so that these things can happen.

“Everyone is used to seeing us create a lot of chances and score a lot of goals, especially since against Crystal Palace we scored seven goals, so that’s just normal for people.

“But we don’t play against teams that are bad. We play against teams that are good and like I said they analyze us and it’s even more difficult than in previous years, so these things happen and we just have to make sure we can change that.

Klopp’s men seemed to be on track for a comfortable 90 minutes after Mane’s opening opener at Villa Park, but their young opponents responded well and went all out at the break thanks to the equalizer from Louie Barry.

Liverpool’s experience, physicality and class recounted after the interval, however, with Wijnaldum’s precise strike quickly followed by smart finishes from Mane and Salah.

“We stayed calm and we stayed calm in the locker room,” said the Netherlands international of the team’s reaction to Barry’s leveler.

“We said we shouldn’t go crazy and shouldn’t lose confidence because in the first half hour we did really well and created chances, but we didn’t score them. After that the counterpress was not very 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 the other team especially with their quality can create chances and that’s what happened and they scored a goal.

“There are a lot of things that can happen against any team, that’s what we said at half-time and we just changed a few things. “



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