League Two side holds out after long trip to Merseyside
0 Liverpool 0 Plymouth Argyle by James Nalton at Anfield
PLYMOUTH Argyle held out to Liverpool’s youngest ever side, earning themselves an FA Cup third round replay at Home Park. The League Two side defended gallantly at Anfield, aided by a mass of travelling supporters.
The average age of the home side’s starting XI was just 21 years and 296 days, as Jurgen Klopp made 10 changes to the side which face Sunderland in their previous game.
Only Emre Can retained his place, while the side’s experience came in the shape of 29-year-old captain Lucas Leiva.
Klopp commented after the game that he could pick a similarly young team in the replay as the club approach their packed January fixture schedule, which also includes a two-legged League Cup semifinal against Southampton.
“I tried something today, and maybe we will try it again [in the replay], we will see,” said the German, who also praised the opposition defence.
Plymouth were “very disciplined and good but we knew that before, they are a good side,” he said. “It was a very dominant game from my side, but no real chances. [Plymouth] did everything that they have to do to deserve a rematch, and now they have it. Yippee!”
Derek Adams’s Argyle side defended resiliently and in numbers, blocking numerous shots as they were fired in by the home side’s enthusiastic but impatient young team.
“I think it’s one of the best defensive performances that Anfield’s probably seen,” said Adams. “The 13 players playing today deserve a huge amount of credit.
“[The fans] have a long trip home but they were very vocal today,” he added. “The atmosphere they created was excellent.”
Liverpool’s 19-year-old winger Sheyi Ojo had the best chance of the first half, but his close range header was saved by Luke McCormick in the Pilgrims’ goal.
The visitors only threatened occasionally on the counterattack, and even then they were relying on the individual skill and luck of one striker to break through the opposition defence.
Klopp’s team dominated possession but it didn’t matter as they couldn’t create any real scoring opportunities.
Even the introduction of Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, and Adam Lallana in the second half couldn’t break down the barricades.
They’ll now make the journey to the south coast for the replay where, according to Adams, they’ll get a “welcome to the real world.”
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