Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp 17, 2016. / AFP / OLI SCARFF
Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool will use the frustration of their dramatic draw with Manchester United to avoid FA Cup humiliation at fourth tier Plymouth.
Klopp’s side were denied a memorable victory over bitter rivals United when Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed a late equaliser at Old Trafford on Sunday.
James Milner’s first half penalty had put the Reds in front, but they couldn’t add a killer second goal and paid the price when Ibrahimovic struck in the 84th minute to leave Liverpool seven points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.
It was a painful lesson in the value of a lethal forward, something Liverpool have sorely missed for much of the season, and especially during their current run of four games without a win in all competitions.
One of those draws came against plucky Plymouth, who took advantage of Klopp’s decision to rest all his established stars and send out Liverpool’s youngest ever line-up in a goalless third round encounter at Anfield earlier this month.
It was a day to remember for Plymouth and the minnows fancy their chances of causing a famous shock in the replay at Home Park if Klopp fields another weakened team.
But the Reds boss is confident his squad will recover from their blip sooner rather than later.
“A lot of people thought playing United was a decisive game for the rest of the season. That’s rubbish,” said Klopp, whose side will host second tier Wolves in the fourth round if they beat Plymouth.
“We went there to win the game which is why we are not 100 percent satisfied.
“It was a wild game. I hoped we would have a bit of luck, unfortunately not but it’s all good. I can enjoy the result today and the performance tomorrow.”
– Culture shock –
After earning a lucrative replay, promotion chasing Plymouth hope to cash in by stunning the five-time European champions.
Plymouth manager Derek Adams believes the culture shock facing Liverpool’s stars at humble Home Park could work in his team’s favour.
“Not as luxurious dressing rooms as they have here, even though we’re in a porta-cabin. From that point of view, welcome to the real world,” he said.
In the other third round replays, Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce desperately needs to beat third tier Bolton at Selhurst Park.
Allardyce is still waiting for his first victory since arriving at Palace in December to replace the sacked Alan Pardew.
Fresh from Saturday’s 3-0 loss at West Ham, which left Palace just above the relegation zone, former England boss Allardyce knows an embarrassing loss to Bolton would be a major blow to the Eagles’ morale.
Manchester City lie in wait for the winners of that tie.
Sunderland, another team mired in the relegation battle, travel to fellow Premier League side Burnley, who are on the up after surging away from the bottom three.
Southampton host second tier Norwich, with the winner facing Arsenal in the fourth round.
Fixtures (1945 GMT unless stated)
AFC Wimbledon v Sutton, Barnsley v Blackpool, Burnley v Sunderland, Crystal Palace v Bolton (2000 GMT), Fleetwood v Bristol City, Lincoln v Ipswich
Newcastle v Birmingham, Plymouth v Liverpool, Southampton v Norwich