Liverpool host Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup third round on Sunday, as Anfield hopes to witness the start of the Reds’ march to Wembley.
Liverpool vs. Plymouth Argyle
Sunday, January 8, 2017 – 1:30pm (GMT)
FA Cup third round
Referee: Paul Tierney
The Reds have battled their way through a gruelling Christmas schedule, and they remain right in the title hunt, five points adrift of leaders Chelsea.
Standing in their way in the third round are League 2 outfit Plymouth Argyle – a team also currently second in their division.
Derek Adams’ side have continued from where they left off last season, when only a play-off final defeat to AFC Wimbledon denied them a place in League 1.
The Pilgrims are clearly huge underdogs going into the tie, but Jurgen Klopp is likely to play a weakened team littered with youngsters.
Anything other than a Liverpool win would be a shock, but Plymouth are a talented side who have nothing to lose. Let battle commence.
Liverpool vs. Plymouth certainly isn’t a fixture that many Reds supporters will ever recall happening in their lifetime.
The last meeting came way back in April 1962, when Bill Shankly’s side won 3-2 at Home Park, on their way to the Second Division title. Alan A’Court, Ian St John and Roger Hunt got the goals for the Reds.
In total, the two sides have faced each other on 10 occasions, with Liverpool winning five, Plymouth triumphing twice and the other three ending in draws.
A’Court has the most goals in the fixture, scoring six in eight appearances, with legendary striker Hunt finding the net four times in six matches.
As mentioned, Klopp is fully expected to ring the changes on Sunday, as he gives some of his big names a much-needed breather.
Youngsters Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kevin Stewart and Ovie Ejaria all look likely to start proceedings, while Joe Gomez will return for the first time since a serious knee injury suffered in October 2015.
Ben Woodburn is another who might feature, although the teenager is perhaps more likely to begin the game on the substitutes’ bench.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Plymouth – Last five results (all competitions)
Lost 1-0 vs. Barnet
Won 2-0 vs. Crawley
Drew 3-3 vs. Wycombe Wanderers
Won 1-0 vs. Newport County
Won 1-0 vs. Accrington Stanley
Klopp discussed the long-awaited return of Gomez – a young player he clearly rates highly:
“[He’s] is in good shape, and maybe it would not be the biggest surprise he would be in the lineup.
“It is the next step and he has a long way to go. He already had a long way and it could still be but everything is good. We don’t really have the idea to give him on loan to another club.
“He’s a wonderful boy and we are really happy for him. He is fit now. He had a few games with the second team and he’s very self critical as he was not always at his best.
“But that’s normal after a long period of injury. [Playing in the first team] is a logical next step.”
UK TV Info
The match is live on BT Sport 2, with kick-off at 1:30pm.
As an alternative, we will be running our matchday live blog from 12:45pm, with minute-by-minute updates during the game and plenty of pre-match content as well.
You’d rather that than watch Michael Owen and Robbie Savage talking about football, right?