It could be that Chazal understood "image and likeness" as the Nefesh Hachaim does.
The Nefesh Hachaim 1 (1) says:
The use of the words tzellem and d’moot are not per their simple
meanings, for it is explicitly written (Yeshayahu 40:18): “And what
likeness will you compare unto Him.” Rather, their meanings imply a
similarity in some feature, as in (Tehillim 102:7): “I am like a
desert pelican.” It’s not that he was given wings and a beak, and not
that his physical appearance was transformed into a pelican, but
rather that he is described in that instance by his actions, that he
wandered from place to place like the pelican in the desert (a lone
bird that flies from place to place). This is per the early plain-text
And so this is what is meant by tzellem: that the one resembles the
other in some fashion.
Learn more in the Nefesh Hachaim to understand the non-physical resemblance.