Preview: Reading (a) – FA Cup

Sports - December 08, 2007

The road to Wembley starts here and with no trophy since 2006 and our Premier League season looking, at best, bleak, a good Cup run could do wonders for the Reds confidence after a disappointing first half of the campaign.

The first hurdle to jump is a potential upset with a trip to the Madjeski Stadium and Reading in the third round of the FA Cup.

Last season the Reds beat Preston 2-0 at this stage of the competition before going out to Everton in a 4th round replay.

The Royals, currently under the leadership of caretaker boss Brian McDermott having recently sacked Brendan Rogers, are having their own nightmare season, sitting 20th in the Championship table, just two points above the relegation zone and were on the end of a 4-1 drubbing by Plymouth in their final game of 2009.

The last time Liverpool played Reading was back in March 2008 – when Reading were still in the Premier League. Liverpool ran out 2-1 winners that day thanks to goals from Javier Mascherano and Fernando Torres.

However, the last time Liverpool went to the Madjeski Stadium, we were on the end of a 3-1 defeat, back in December 2007. Peter Crouch, Jack Hobbs and Momo Sissoko started in the Reds line-up that day.

This time round, Liverpool will be without Mascherano who serves the third game of his four match domestic suspension for his red card away at Portsmouth before Christmas. Glen Johnson is ruled out with the medial knee ligament injury he suffered in the win at Villa.

Alberto Aquilani will be looking to make his FA Cup bow after starting both of Liverpool’s last two games – against Wolves and Aston Villa at the back end of 2009. Although, after 2 starts in 4 days the Italian may be rested with Jay Spearing getting a start in midfield. Rafa Benitez may also choose to rest key players such as Fernando Torres.

David Ngog could get a start up front if Torres isn’t risked, while Jay Spearing could be a surprise inclusion if Aquilani isn’t risked.

Reading have former Barnsley midfielder Brian Howard in their squad, he who knocked the Reds out of the FA Cup at Anfield two years ago with a late goal at the Kop end.

The match is live on ITV1 (UK), 5:15pm kick off.