Steering clear of an FA Cup shock is the order of the day on Wednesday, as Liverpool travel to Plymouth Argyle in their third round replay.
Plymouth Argyle vs. Liverpool
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 – 7:45pm (GMT)
Referee: Graham Scott
The fixtures keep coming thick and fast in January, as Liverpool work their socks off across three different competitions.
The Reds were held to a goalless draw by Plymouth in the initial third round clash at Anfield – a day that will live long in the memory for the travelling Pilgrims.
Derek Adams’ men came to stifle Liverpool, and while their tactics were not easy on the eye, they fully merited their clean-sheet on Merseyside.
A potentially young Reds team will not have it all their own way in front of a boisterous home crowd, and a far better performance is called for than at Anfield.
It will be interesting to see if Klopp relies upon a few more older heads, as he looks to avoid a humiliating result.
Whatever happens, it should be a fascinating battle in the south west.
Last Time Around
The Anfield showdown on January 8th was the first meeting between Liverpool and Plymouth since 1962, but it didn’t exactly deliver a classic.
Plymouth were hellbent on defending for their lives throughout, and in fairness to them, they thwarted a Reds side lacking in ideas and intensity.
Both Woodburn and Ojo came as close as anyone to breaking the deadlock, but the eventual 0-0 scoreline was a disappointing one for the hosts.
Opposition Q & A
We spoke to Beren Cross (@BerenCross), Sports Journalist for the Plymouth Herald, about the tie in general – here’s a snippet of the interview.
Tell us a bit about Home Park as a ground, in terms of atmosphere. Will it be intimidating for the Reds?
It’s a largely modern stadium and perhaps not what many of the Liverpool supporters expect when they turn up. Three stands are filled in at the corners and are only the best part of 15-years-old. There is one free-standing stand, which you don’t see on the main television angle, which has been there for decades and shows its age.
It played host to Championship football less than 10 years ago, so it’s not the sort of fourth-division ground you would see at somewhere like Accrington Stanley or Morecambe.
The match will be a sell-out and there are going to be more than 14,000 home supporters. The atmosphere will be superb and I am sure the visiting supporters will play a big part in that.
I think it will be noisy from start to finish, whether Argyle are losing or not.
Read our interview with Beren in full here.
With the visit of Swansea City on Saturday lunchtime lurking on the horizon, Klopp is sure to rotate his starting lineup against Plymouth.
Roberto Firmino and Emre Can could both do with the evening off, having got through huge amounts of work of late, with James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum also sure to benefit from a break, among others.
Nathaniel Clyne won’t be ready, having not featured against United on Sunday, while Joel Matip‘s involvement is up in the air, because of eligibility issues. Lucas Leiva could miss out through injury.
The exciting quintet of Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Ejaria, Ojo and Woodburn should all begin proceedings, with Kevin Stewart another who will hope to slot into the midfield.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Plymouth Argyle – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 4-2 vs. Stevenage Borough
Drew 0-0 vs. Liverpool
Lost 1-0 vs. Barnet
Won 2-0 vs. Crawley Town
Drew 3-3 vs. Wycombe Wanderers
Klopp discussed the Matip situation, explaining that he’d like to start the centre-back but has no guarantee it’s allowed:
“We’re sure Joel Matip did nothing wrong. He hasn’t played for Cameroon since 2015.
“Since he’s here, he’s not been a Cameroon player. He’s not in the Cameroon squad, so he can’t play for Cameroon.
“But in this moment we have no 100 percent guarantee he can play for us. The last few days it’s getting more busy, for all departments involved for Liverpool.
“The procedure is that I would consider to line him up tomorrow, but I don’t know if I can.
“That’s the thing. From the sport side it would make absolute sense, the perfect game for him, but I’m not sure if I can.”
UK TV Info
The match is live on BT Sport 2 from 7pm, with kick-off at 7:45pm.
As always, we will be running our matchday live blog (7pm-9:45pm), providing you with minute-by-minute updates during the game and plenty of content before the action gets underway.
If you’re unable to watch the match unfold, it’s certainly a good alternative.