Plymouth Argyle 0-1 Liverpool
Home Park, FA Cup Third Round Replay
January 18, 2017
Lucas 19′ (assist – Coutinho)
Liverpool travelled to Devon on Wednesday, to play out an FA Cup replay away to League Two challengers Argyle, with a fourth-round clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers up for grabs.
Taking on a club who can count current Premier League staples Dan Gosling, Jason Puncheon, Craig Cathcart, Yannick Bolasie and Ben Gibson among their alumni but have remained rooted in the Football League, Liverpool will have been confident of securing victory.
Jurgen Klopp took this opportunity to give chances to his young stars once again, with Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ovie Ejaria and Ben Woodburn all included, while Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge also started to give the Reds an experienced attacking sheen.
With Argyle motivated after a strong defensive display at Anfield last time out, the replay was set to be a fiercely contested one, and Liverpool only just edged it at Home Park.
- Klopp hands starts to Coutinho, Sturridge and Origi
- Randall, Williams, Alves, Ojo and Wilson on youthful bench
- Lucas nets first Reds goal since September 16, 2010
- Wilson makes debut as second-half substitute
- Origi sees late penalty saved after disappointing display
Liverpool began the first half enjoying a similar level of dominance to that at Anfield earlier in the month, but despite Klopp’s injection of experience, they still suffered a lack of quality in the final third.
Sturridge was denied a clear penalty just after the 10-minute mark, however, with the striker brought down by Oscar Threlkeld after rushing onto a pass from Coutinho.
Liverpool’s opener came from the most unlikely of sources, with Coutinho curling a fine corner in for Lucas, captain on the night, to head home unmarked for his first goal for the club since 2010.
This prompted a resurgence from Argyle, bringing Loris Karius into action, with the German making one strong save and a decisive clearance charging from his line, then it took a last-minute intervention from Alexander-Arnold to thwart Paul Garita from point-blank range.
The contest remained end-to-end for the rest of the half, with neither side creating many clear opportunities, with Lucas’ header proving the difference at the break.
With no manager making a change at the interval, the tempo of the game remained the same as Graham Scott began the second half, with Plymouth still pushing hard for an equaliser, and Alexander-Arnold in particular defending well.
The Reds were still ahead after the hour mark, prompting Klopp to make his first roll of the dice, bringing on 19-year-old Harry Wilson for his debut for the club.
Wilson almost had his name on the scoresheet minutes later, and in bizarre fashion, charging down Argyle goalkeeper Luke McCormick’s clearance, with the rebound eventually landing on the top of the net.
Up the other end, Plymouth striker Jake Jervis almost struck back with a wondergoal, powering an overhead kick back off the post following a well-worked free-kick routine.
But the best opportunity came for Liverpool with less than five minutes to play, with Scott awarding a penalty for a foul on the rampaging Alberto Moreno, but with the struggling Divock Origi stepping up to take it, McCormick dived the right way to keep it at 1-0.
The Belgian then blazed an effort over from the edge of the penalty area, with Liverpool eventually seeing out a slim victory to ensure progress to the fourth round against Wolves.
TIA Man of the Match: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Referee: Graham Scott
Plymouth Argyle: McCormick; Threlkeld, Songo’o, Bradley, Purrington; Fox, Carey, Donaldson (Tanner 67′); Jervis, Slew (Bulvitis 80′), Garita (Rooney 72′)
Subs not used: Dorel, Sawyer, Fletcher, Rose
Liverpool: Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Lucas, Moreno; Stewart, Coutinho (Wilson 65′), Ejaria; Origi, Woodburn, Sturridge (Ojo 76′)
Subs not used: Mignolet, Klavan, Randall, Williams, Alves