Ben Woodburn, Harry Wilson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Sheji Ojo, Ovie Ejaria, Joe Gomez, these are all names Liverpool fans should familiarise themselves with sooner rather than later. These players are the future of Liverpool Football Club and time and time again they have proven their worth when they’re thrown in to the deep end by Jürgen Klopp.
Liverpool travelled to Plymouth in an FA Cup replay, a game that many fans believe Liverpool shouldn’t have had to play, because they should have beaten the League 2 side at Anfield a couple of weeks ago. As with football though you can’t plan for the unexpected.
In the first game at Anfield, Plymouth played very compact and didn’t allow Liverpool space to create the chances other Premier Legaue teams afford them and they ended a hard fought draw.
This time round though, Klopp wasn’t taken any chances and fielded a team that included senior players like Lucas Levia, Phillipe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi.
If the first game was a dead cert, with a front line that included both Origi and Sturridge, Liverpool fans would be forgiven when they expected a comprehensive win for the Premier League side, but like the first game it wasn’t to be.
As is normal with this Liverpool side they had all the possession, swapping passes at ease, but once they got near the Plymouth penalty area, they looked to run out of ideas.
Sturridge was largely ineffective, Origi swapping positions across the front line (he played all 3 frontal positions at one stage throughout the game) seemed confused. He didn’t seem to know where he was meant to be and this inhibited his performance.
Young Woodburn was largely ineffective on the wing and no matter how many jinxs and turns Coutinho contributed, Liverpool couldn’t break down a stubborn Plymouth defence.
Looking at the game, it seemed that Liverpool’s only chance of scoring would come from a set piece and that’s exactly how they scored the all important goal.
A Phillipe Coutinho corner was met by, of all people, Lucas who’s powerful header beat the Plymouth goalkeeper to put Liverpool 1-0 up. In fairness to Lucas, he’ll not score a better headed goal like that again.
For all Liverpool’s possession in the game it was the League 2 side who looked dangerous on the counter attack. Liverpool were lucky when a Sonny Bradley effort crept past the post as the Liverpool defence was caught napping in the second half.
This seemed to spur on Liverpool and with the game drawing to a close, Alberto Moreno was chopped down in the box and the referee awarded a penalty, Plymouth should count themselves lucky that the foul on Sturridge in the box in the first half was missed by all of the officials.
Up stepped Origi to take the penalty and his lame effort was easily saved by Luke Mc Cormick. Mc Cormick won’t face too many easier penalties in his career. It was a poor penalty and the more I saw the replays of it, the worse it gets.
Liverpool though kept up the pressure as the game drew to a close with Woodburn tirelessly running the lines alongside Ojo who replaced Sturridge in the second half, much to his annoyance and Harry Wilson. Their energy late in the game was a constant headache for the Plymouth defence.
Wilson in particular was unlucky after he chased down a ball back to Mc Cormick, who attempt at a clearance hit the young Welsh player and went over.
All in all, it was a decent result for Liverpool. The players coming up from the U-23’s did themselves proud and some more than others have given Klopp something to think about.
As for Sturridge, I fear his time at the club is drawing to a close. He doesn’t seem to suit Klopps preferred method of playing and there’s only so many times the German manager will give him a chance before he gets impatient and moves him on.
His performances of late have been less than average and he doesn’t seem to want to play the way Klopp instructs his players to play. Gone is his sharpness in front of goal and his ability to score the impossible goals and all that’s left is a shadow of the player he was in 2013/2014.
Liverpool now faces Wolves in the 4th round of the cup at Anfield and every fan will be hoping that whatever team is selected will get the job done at the first time of asking and Liverpool won’t heed yet another replay to finish of a team who are well below them in terms of league position and class.
Written by @TheMoanyOne