LIVERPOOL 0-0 Plymouth Argyle
Plymouth earned themselves a replay to go back to their own stadium for more FA Cup action.
Klopp chose to change the last starting 11 lineup 10 times, almost entirely changing the team which faced Sunderland except for keeping Emre Can in the midfield. It was also officially “the youngest starting lineup in Liverpool’s history”, with youngsters everywhere including the now famous Ben Woodburn who this season had broken Michael Owen’s record for “youngest player to score for Liverpool’s first team”. He’s still 17.
If you’re looking for reasons why Liverpool went 90 minutes without scoring against a lower division side, well… this wasn’t really Liverpool’s 1st team. I mean it is, but the majority of players who were chosen to play in this 1st team were all “Liverpool reserves” or “Liverpool Academy” players. Aside from Can, we had some first team regulars on the substitute bench and 3 of them would play. Sturridge, Firmino and Lallana made FA Cup appearances by the end of the game.
Of them all, Sturridge seemed to have the most impact. He tried hard to get a goal and had some shots, which were close misses or needed to be saved.
Plymouth barely tried to attack at all though, Karius wasn’t tested enough for them to come close to scoring. Liverpool held the ball for about 77% possession by the end of the game and Plymouth didn’t seem to mind only having 23% possession. They spent most of their game just defending so much that a goalless draw was the most likely outcome for their style of play. “Playing for a replay” is what it seemed like to Liverpool fans. Well, you got what you wanted by the final whistle.
Hopefully Klopp learns something from this and in the replay at Plymouth’s stadium, fields less than 10 youngsters so that maybe at least until the more experienced players have gotten a goal or two, making sure we’ll be able to play on if we switch a few key players out again via substitutions.
It’s not that the youngsters did badly. They’re just not the side that has been beating Premier League teams and scoring 4 goals while they do that.
Mostly, they spent their time in midfield, trying to get past a very defensive Plymouth side. When any team decides that all they’re going to do is sit back and stop the attacks coming towards them, then it can be very difficult to even make space enough for shooting at the goalkeeper. Even Emre Can had a bit of a hard time getting his free kicks and attacks past the Plymouth “brick wall” (defence). Their tactics were to remain solid at the back and they pulled it off.
You might be surprised to hear that Liverpool actually put the ball in their opponents net! Origi had a wonderful chance, “beat” a defender and shot past the goalkeeper. “Goal”, right? Unfortunately not. The referee made the decision that Origi only beat the defender he went past before shooting by fouling him. Too much physical contact to get the ball which he then ran with towards the goalkeeper. Sorry Origi, but good effort. A bit less roughness with the opponents and it might have stood as a goal. What probably would have been the only goal of the game and a potential “match winner”. Still, the score remained 0-0.
The scoreline doesn’t reflect how hard Liverpool worked despite never scoring at all. It wasn’t effortless, they all tried very hard. I’m not criticising here, they deserve some praise and have gotten it. It’s always nice to see some goals, but I support my team whether they win, lose or draw. Today we got the draw and I’m still showing my support. Well done, lads. All of you.
I think we’ll see some goals in the replay, Klopp will be sure to at least motivate his players to do what they couldn’t do at Anfield (score), no matter what the squad turns out to look like. Cup competitions don’t often have the same strength squads as Premier League fixtures, that’s pretty normal. I think we can expect to see some of the same players in our upcoming League Cup fixture, too.
Man Of the Match
Emre Can had a hard job to do and did it well. He was like the glue that stuck the whole of the very young and inexperienced Liverpool side together from the midfield. Can and Kevin Stewart were supplying the balls for their teammates around the heart of the pitch and it was a shame we couldn’t have had an assisted goal from him but if anyone was going to do that, it would have been Can.
In just a few days time, we’ll be playing another Cup game. This time, it’s the League Cup against Southampton. Could be seeing all these youngsters again! Bring ’em on. The more experience they get, the better. A Premier League side to face this time, though.
So, walk on with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[written by] Stuart Drewery
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.