Exeter City host Liverpool Football Club at St. James’ Park (no, not that one, the other one) on Friday night as the 3rd Round of the FA Cup (sponsored by somebody or other) introduces the giants, so that the giant-killing can commence. Splendid.
Liverpool enter this match with more clichés ready for battle than players:
- Down To The Bare Bones
- Stretched To The Limit
- The Walking Wounded
- Hamstrung By Injuries. Actually & Figuratively.
- Wafer-Thin Squad
- You’ll Win Nothing With Kids
- Why Is Our Physio Crying In The Corner?
All of the above apply right now, and Melwood must resemble a scene from M.A.S.H. Indeed Alan Alda has been spotted on the banks of the Mersey this week. (If you don’t know what M.A.S.H. is, or who Alan Alda is, ask your parents…or grandparents…or Google).
Jurgen Klopp declared that ‘Hamstring’ was his ‘SH*T’ word of the year a few weeks ago…the fecking jinx. Liverpool will possibly take to the field tomorrow night with NO fit centre-halves, with Skrtel definitely out, Lovren almost certainly out, Sakho probably out and KOLO limping off at The Brittania Stadium at full-time.
Things are so bad at Anfield right now that frantic moves are afoot to arrange for the termination of the loan of Thiago Illori to Aston Villa. That’s the Thiago Illori who can’t get into the worst team in the Premier League.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a radical tactical change from Klopp which may see him play a 3-4-2-0 formation, with three vaguely defensive players at the back, every midfielder in the world in the middle, and NOBODY (or Benteke, same difference) up top. He’ll send his charges out to grimly hang on for a draw in order to get them back to Anfield for the replay, and another match, which is all we need. As I said earlier…Gegen-Depressing.
One ray of light for Liverpool is the form of their opponents, which is, well, a bit crap. They have 1 win, 1 draw and 4 defeats from their last six games, which of course means they are overdue a stonking performance on Friday night. Exeter City lie 16th in League 2, which means that there are…*counts on fingers, toes, tic-tacs*…a lot of places (75 I think) between them on the ‘League Ladder’ or ‘League Pyramid’.
(Why is it called a ‘League Pyramid’ anyway? It’s not a pyramid at all. It’s a clear, linear set-up from top to bottom. What nonsense. Anyway, I digress).
There is a long and fabled history between these two mighty sides, which has been recounted by many generations since their first (and only) titanic clash in, err, 2011. That game resulted in a 1-3 victory for Liverpool at St. James’ Park, with a young forward called Luis Suarez opening the scoring on the night. I wonder what happened to him since then? The other Liverpool goals were scored by Maxi Rodriguez and an actual donkey (who is now the West Ham club mascot).
The game on Friday night will test Liverpool to the fullest extent. Under the Friday Night Lights they will undoubtedly need ‘Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose’. Allegedly.