Injury-hit Reds open FA Cup campaign – Exeter City vs. Liverpool Match Preview

on 07.01.2016

Liverpool continue cup action on Friday night when they make the long trip to Devonshire for the first FA Cup clash of the season against Exeter City.

EXETER, ENGLAND - Wednesday, August 24, 2011: A rainbow over the ground as Liverpool take on Exeter City during the Football League Cup 2nd Round match at St James Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Exeter City vs. Liverpool
Friday 8th January 2016, 19:55pm (GMT)
St James Park
FA Cup Third Round
Referee: Stuart Atwell

Buoyed from the semi-final first leg success at Stoke on Tuesday night, Jurgen Klopp’s depleted Reds head to League Two outfit Exeter to open the FA Cup campaign.

The relentless run of games continue for Liverpool with Friday’s fixture the third in ridiculously quick succession, but before even managing the game, Klopp has a job on his hands in finding an XI to play as the injury crisis worsens with 12 players now missing.

For the second successive season, the Reds begin their journey to Wembley against League Two opposition having faced AFC Wimbledon last year, and after just squeezing past the Dons with a narrow 2-1 win, Liverpool can expect a similarly tricky tie against Paul Tisdale’s men.


Previous Meetings

EXETER, ENGLAND - Wednesday, August 24, 2011: Liverpool's Maximiliano Ruben Maxi Rodriguez celebrates scoring the second goal against Exeter City during the Football League Cup 2nd Round match at St James Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Friday night will see just the sixth meeting between the clubs, in which Exeter will be looking for a historic first success over the Reds who have won all of the five previous clashes.

Four of those games have come in League Cup competition and only one in the FA Cup – that coming in 1950 at Anfield where the Reds ran out 3-1 winners.

The last fixture between the two clubs was a lot more recent, coming in August 2011 when Kenny Dalglish’s side recorded a 3-1 success in the League Cup 2nd round on their way to winning the competition.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 14, 2012: Liverpool's manager Kenny Dalglish celebrates his side's 2-1 victory over Everton with assistant manager Steve Clarke during the FA Cup Semi-Final match at Wembley. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Goals from Luis Suarez, Maxi Rodriguez and Andy Carroll that day put the Reds in firm control, before Daniel Nardiello grabbed a consolation from the spot for City with 10 minutes remaining.

Klopp will be looking to make it six wins from six against the Grecians on Friday night.



STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Tuesday, January 5, 2016: Liverpool's Jordon Ibe celebrates scoring the first goal against Stoke City with team-mates during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Exeter have endured a difficult season to date, currently sitting in 16th place in the fourth tier.

The home side arrive following four straight defeats and having won only two of their last 10 games, but as proven time and again when it comes to the FA Cup, form counts for nothing.

In an indifferent league campaign, the Grecians have enjoyed the distraction of the competition, posting comfortable wins over non-league Didcot Town and Port Vale to land the round three glamour tie against the Reds.

Tisdale’s men have also caused panic for a Premier League side already this season, putting up a brave fight before eventually losing 6-3 to Sunderland in the League Cup in August.

Liverpool’s indifferent form continues, but Klopp’s men arrive in better shape having collected three wins from their last four games in all competitions.

The Reds will be looking to continue that positive run with a makeshift side at St James Park, to ensure of some positive momentum before successive tough league games.

Form Guide

Exeter: D-L-D-W-W-D-L-L-L-L

Liverpool: W-W-L-D-D-L-W-W-L-W



Klopp’s men are of course the favourites, with progression to round four priced at 4/9, while a draw is valued at 7/2 and a giant-killing for Tisdale’s men available at 13/2.



Tisdale – the second longest serving manager in the English game – like Klopp, comes into the match with a number of injury concerns that have plagued his season to date.

The City boss faces an anxious wait over the availability of key man David Wheeler who has a foot problem, while the match is likely to come too soon for Christian Ribiero, David Noble and Jamie McAllister to feature.

Long-term absentees Christy Pym, Ryan Harley and Will Hoskins are also set to miss out.

Former Republic of Ireland striker Clinton Morrison who signed an extended contract last week, and fan-funded singing Joel Grant, who joined after supporters group ‘1931’ raised £30,000 to secure his services, are both in line to feature.

Exeter boast some quality in their ranks with the duo and Lee Holmes in particular, while the Reds will need to keep a closer watch on top scorer Tom Nichols.

Tisdale’s men are a good footballing side, but with the game set to be a battle on the difficult St James Park pitch, the tie could be won or lost on the desire of Klopp’s men rise to the challenge.


What the Managers say

Klopp spoke of his respect for the FA Cup, injury crisis, and on Friday’s opponents in his press conference:

“The FA Cup is a big tournament for sure. I have big respect for it.

“We watched Exeter yesterday, we know that they’re a good team. I heard the dressing room is quite small. Maybe we should not spend too much time in there and go out and play football!

“The team which plays tomorrow will want to win this game 100% but it will be a team that didn’t play too often together.”

Prior to the Reds’ visit, an ambitious Tisdale said:

“We are not just looking to sit back and hold on. I don’t want to do that. I think we need to have some intent about us. I don’t think we should hold back and wait for the game to happen.

“We need to go out and give it a go and get the balance right between risk and reward. Win, lose or draw we want to finish the game having given a good and positive account of ourselves.”


TV Info

The cup clash will be a rare game of live coverage on BBC One in the UK, with the match also available to watch on SuperSport, beIN Sport, Canal+ and Fox Sports 1 around the globe.


Read more: Injury crisis – Toure OUT, Lovren & Coutinho to miss Arsenal and Man United games

See also: Could Klopp rest 11 Liverpool players for Exeter City FA Cup tie?


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  1. Bogdan
    Randall, Illori, Cleary, Smith
    Brannagan, Chirivella, Teixeira
    Kent, Sinclair, Ojo

    Subs: Fulton, Enrique, McLaughlin, Alexander-Arnold, Tricket Smith, Allan.
    There you go Kloppo!

    • There’s no player there that could fight the ball or has enough muscle to dislodge League 2 players. They know our weakness, it’s get physical and they’ll play to that.

      • So? You wanna risk any of Clyne, Moreno, Can, Lucas, Firmino or Benteke against those players on that pitch with next weeks games? Any more injuries now, and we’re pretty toast then, and still no guarantee we’ll win this game.

        • Next weeks games pale in to insignificance to tomorrow. Tomorrow represents an opportunity to win a trophy in the end. Next weeks games represent nothing. Playing players is what they exist for, they don’t exist to be rested. Do you get excited on non match days because our whole team is being rested? Do you get excited at night to think all players in the country are resting as they sleep?

          it seems many fans these days care more about players “resting” instead of playing.

          • Another load of nonsense. Our best chance of a trophy is league cup. FA cup could throw up a series of tough draws as well as replays and further strain in the squad.
            At this moment on time, FA cup is least important competition for us.

          • I am excited all the time. But then, I have a girlfriend …
            I do also get excited about our youth given a real task. And even if we do play our best XI it is still going to be depleted, and seeing results elsewhere and past years, not even a full XI will make for a successful game.

            Two things happen if we play the kids:
            1. The current first XI avoids further injuries and gets a little breather.
            2. Younger players get real experience, that could be very valuable later this season.
            We might get eliminated. It might even be embarrassing. So what? Losing in a cup game to Exeter with the youth team is certainly not worse than 6-1 at Britannia. Or West Ham doing the double this season in glorious fashion.

          • Just for the record, under normal circumstances I would agree with you – always play the best XI. But we do not have a normal situation right now. With players dropping like they are, something has to give. We’ll be lucky to win anything at all this year anyway.

    • But that team is not good enough. It’s the U21 team that loses regularly to U21 teams from all over so why would bit be good enough to beat a Division 1 team? Are you saying U21 football is better than Division 1?

      • Our first team struggled to beat Bolton and Blackburn last season, we barely beat Cardiff with Suarez and Gerrard, barely beat Birmingham in final all those years ago… All occasions were our first choice team played against lower league opposition and all struggled and that’s to name but a few.
        Are you saying we need a first team to win and nothing else will do? Because frankly, that’s a load of nonsense.

      • These U21 players you speak of end up getting loaned to Championship and League One teams…maybe not everyone needs to be replaced but more than a few can definitely take the place for this match.

    • Cleary is hurt. I agree with the sentiment though. It could be an opportunity for the youngsters to step up and grab the chance by the scruff of the neck.

  2. It’s an interesting thought to see who plays this game. Bogdan is a given and probably Smith and Randall. Hope Teixeira and Allan will get some time to create. Milner could be a decent shout for last 30 mins.

  3. Liverpool will be crashing out of the FA cup in embarrassing fashion if we are forced to play these U21s tomorrow. Big problems ahead…

  4. I can’t help but tear a little every time I see Suarez in a Liverpool kit.
    Damn, he was a Wizard! No one on our current squad has Suarez’s passion and hunger to win bar Klopp.

      • It couldn’t have been any other way, it was Barcelona after all, and it would have been unfair to Suarez after he had given us his all.

      • Suarez was leaving at some point. It just stunk that he left before he played for us in the Champions League.

        • All very well but did the owners really try that hard to keep him? Perhaps it meant more money for them to sell him as opposed to keeping him. Everyone has their price? Even Suarez and his wife!

          • Considering his wife is from the Barcelona area, I don’t know. I have no idea what he’s getting paid now compared to what he earned his last season with us.

      • No big deal. We replaced him with Sanchez. FSG knew the player wanted London, so they went all out and made an offer that Barcelona and Sanchez couldn’t refuse. Arsenal, being Arsenal, refused to match it. Instead, Wenger all of his funds gambling on unproven talent.

        The manager said he wanted quality of quantity and the club backed him to the hilt, knowing that we could build on our title challenge if we invested in a few elite players that suited our pacy, aggressive style.

        Sterling, recognizing the club’s ambitions, agreed to a reasonable salary, knowing that within a year he would almost certainly be in a much higher bracket as the club returned to the global elite where it belonged.

        Our rivals could only look on in jealousy as we became the neutral’s favorite with our no-holds-barred playing attacking style.

      • If you’ve read Gerrard’s autobiography, it says that Suarez kept saying the club and the manager were lying to him. And after Stevie’s intervention he agreed to stay and wait for a mega club and not go for Arsenal. Then I read a few reports when Suarez signed a new contract that there a release clause. After the 2013-14 season, the club hierarchy decided not to sell him given how he had performed and they were willing to build a team around him. Then the bite on Chiellini happened after this news was declared to Suarez. Maybe he did that to force his way out. After the bite the hierarchy decided to sell him. Now I can’t guarantee the credibility of the reports I’ve read but this whole picture makes sense to me.

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