17 January 2017

Liverpool at Plymouth Argyle 01.18.17

2:45pm ET, live in the US on Fox Sports 1

Last four head-to-head:
0-0 (h) 01.08.17
3-2 Liverpool (a) 04.28.62
2-1 Liverpool (h) 12.09.61
1-1 (h) 03.24.61

Last three matches:
Liverpool: 1-1 Manchester Utd (a); 0-1 Southampton (a); 0-0 Plymouth Argyle (h)
Plymouth: 4-2 Stevenage (h); 0-0 Liverpool (a); 0-1 Barnet (a)

Previous rounds:
Liverpool: 0-0 Plymouth Argyle (h)
Plymouth: 0-0 Liverpool (a); 1-0 Newport County aet (a), 0-0 Newport County (h); 2-1 Mansfield (a)

Goalscorers (all):
Liverpool: Mané 9; Firmino, Lallana, Origi 7; Coutinho, Milner, Sturridge 6; Can 3; Lovren, Wijnaldum 2; Henderson, Klavan, Matip, Woodburn 1
Plymouth: Carey 10; Jervis 8; Slew 6; Tanner 5; Bradley, Bulvitis 3; Donaldson, Garita, Smith, Songo'o, Spencer, Threlkeld 2; Fox, Goodwillie 1

Referee: Graham Scott

Guess at a line-up:
Alexander-Arnold Lovren Gomez Moreno
Ejaria Stewart Wijnaldum
Ojo Sturridge Coutinho

"We have, in general, a very young team. I said before the last game we had a lot of good reasons to line up like we did and it will be same case for Wednesday, we will have good reasons for the line-up," [Klopp] explained.

"The first and best reason is we want to win the game and want to go to the next round of the FA Cup. We will see.

"Probably, it will be different to the team we had in the first game but that's not 100 per cent sure so we have to wait a little bit. It will be good." -- Jürgen Klopp

Parsing press conference quotes is fun.

So, it'll be the "same case" but "different to the team" which started at Anfield. Okay. I'm taking that to mean a couple more senior players in the starting XI, but still a relatively young and inexperienced side. I may well be wrong.

Let's guess who anyway.

First, Sturridge. Because why not. Origi started on Sunday, Origi didn't do much, Sturridge remains Liverpool's best natural goalscorer. And let's go with Coutinho, who should be ready to start after two 30-minute substitute appearances.

We'll need at least one senior midfielder to go with Stewart and Ejaria. It was Emre Can last time, but Can's also started the last five matches in a row, since City on New Year's Eve, the only Liverpool player to do so. It could be Henderson, further forward than usual because of Stewart's inclusion, it could be Wijnaldum, it could be both. As Henderson's also not far removed from injury, let's go with Gini.

Finally, the center-back to partner Joe Gomez. Lucas is dealing with a knee bruise, but has a small chance to be available. There have been scattered reports/rumors that Liverpool are will to push FIFA and play Matip, daring the organization to do something about it. I reckon Liverpool would lose that game of chicken. Mamadou Sakho still does not exist, don't even think about it. So it might have to be Lovren.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it'll be almost all kids again. Maybe even more kids. Liverpool kept a lot of them out of yesterday's u23 game, including Harry Wilson, who's never made a senior squad. But I suspect Liverpool has a point to prove, and while there are still a lot of midweek games coming up, it's not quite "oh you played less than 48 hours ago? Too bad."

And maybe it's because I don't know different, and my only real experience with Plymouth Argyle remains last week's 0-0, but I suspect we'll see a similar side and style to the match at Anfield from them as well.

Argyle have played just one match since the draw ten days ago, and used almost exactly the same XI, the only exception Connor Smith for Miller, who was injured at Anfield. And, hosting Stevenage, Argyle scored four goals for the first time since October 1. Uh oh, Happy learned how to putt, etc etc.

Fine. Let's be slightly fairer, and try to do so without patronizing. Argyle will be more attacking, even if relatively speaking. They've scored four, two, three, and two in their last four home games, albeit against their League Two peers, compared to zero, zero, one (in extra time), and zero in their last four away. There are no more replays; if this finishes level, whether 0-0 or 2-2, we're going to extra time and possibly penalties. They have more incentive to try to score, and a better (if only marginally) chance to do so.

And while Plymouth were incredibly defensive in the last meeting, it's not as if they were under constant serious threat. Liverpool had the possession, nearly all of the possession, but Liverpool struggled to create real chances. This has been a recent trend even when Liverpool had used a more established XI against better and less defensive sides.

If it's the same Plymouth XI as against Stevenage, it'll be McCormick; Threlkeld, Songo'o, Bradley, Purrington; Smith, Fox; Jervis, Carey, Slew; Garita. If there are changes, my guess is they'll be in attack. Former Blackburn striker David Goodwillie's back from injury, scoring as a substitute last Saturday. Craig Tanner, also used as a substitute against Stevenage, looked more of a threat when coming on at Anfield than the player he replaced.

Liverpool actually have multiple points to prove. Not only the indignity of a replay against a League Two side but the fact they're still winless in 2017. The fact they've yet to score an open play goal in 2017. The need to put the difficult festive season behind them and regain the form that got them to second in the table less than a month earlier.

But make no mistake, Plymouth Argyle will ensure it won't be easy.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Goodwillie has legal problems at the minute so I don't think he'll play