Liverpool vs Plymouth Argyle Preview: Klopp to entrust Reds' youth to advance to FA Cup fourth round

Jürgen Klopp is expected to name a much-changed side and once again place his faith in Liverpool's younger players for their FA Cup third round tie with Plymouth Argyle on Sunday afternoon.  

The Reds come into this clash off the back of a hectic festive schedule which saw them play twice in less than 48 hours earlier this week, beating Manchester City before a draw with Sunderland.

And with EFL Cup semi-finals against Southampton sandwiched either side of a heavyweight trip to Old Trafford to take on arch-rivals Manchester United, Klopp will rest key players for the visit of the Pilgrims.

It is a reminder of last season when Liverpool took on Plymouth's Devonshire rivals Exeter City at this same stage of the competition, when the German's eleven saw five debuts handed out in a line-up that had an average age of 22.

Klopp is expected to name a stronger side this time around but will still look to utilise the depth of his squad as much as possible with higher priority fixtures coming up later this month.

League Two outfit Plymouth, four points off league leaders Doncaster Rovers with a game in hand, are one of only teams below the Championship to be involved in a televised tie this weekend and will no doubt hope to make the most of the limelight.

They have already knocked out Mansfield Town and Newport County, after a replay.

But the odds are stacked against the Pilgrims, whose best ever FA Cup campaign saw them reach the semi-finals in 1984 before defeat to Watford, to pull off a shock.

They visit a Liverpool side who haven't lost at home in all competitions since a 1-0 loss to United on 17 January 2016, going unbeaten in 26 games since - and who have only lost in their last 18 games.

Such would be the magnitude of Plymouth knocking the Merseyside outfit out, FA Cup sponsors Budweiser have promised to deliver thousands of bottles of free beer view helicopter should they do so.

And while fielding a weakened starting line-up does leave Liverpool potentially vulnerable to a potential upset, it would still be a huge surprise were Plymouth able to knock their top-flight opponents out with their first ever win at Anfield.

Team news

Goalkeeper Loris Karius will make his first appearance in almost a month having watched Liverpool's last five games from the bench after being dropped by Simon Mignolet.

The German summer signing disappointed across his first 11 appearances and after the draw at home to West Ham United, in which he was criticised for not saving Dmitri Payet's free-kick, was dropped for Mignolet.

But he will return here, with Klopp likely to make near wholesale changes. Another who could come in is Joe Gomez, in line for his first senior appearance in 16 months after a knee ligament injury and then an achilles issue.

The England Under-21 international has yet to feature once Reds boss Klopp but is close to full sharpness and could make his first appearance since October 1st 2015.

In defence, Alberto Moreno could come in at left-back with James Milner unlikely to be risked with a calf problem - while Trent Alexander-Arnold could replace Nathaniel Clyne, who hasn't missed a minute of action in the league, on the right side of defence.

Lucas Leiva, whose future was recently in doubt, could also play at centre-back alongside Gomez while midfielders Ovie Ejaria and Kevin Stewart could take part, with forwards Sheyi Ojo and Ben Woodburn also in the frame. Divock Origi could also start up front.

Captain Jordan Henderson (heel), Daniel Sturridge (ankle) and Philippe Coutinho (ankle) are all unavailable despite the latter two having returned to training at Melwood on Friday. Sadio Mane is away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Derek Adams has no fresh injury worries, although Plymouth's January signings Jakub Sokolik - formerly of Liverpool's Academy - and Nathan Blissett are both cup-tied.

On-loan Bristol City striker Paul-Arnold Garita could start despite a recent knee injury, while fellow loanee Craig Tanner remains available although both are due to return to their parent clubs later this month. 

Centre-back Nauris Bulvitis is back after a hamstring injury, Ryan Brunt (anterior cruciate ligament) and David Ijaha (groin) are both out. 


At Anfield: Liverpool - 3 wins, Draws - 2, Plymouth Argyle - 0 wins.

At Home Park: Plymouth Argyle - 2 wins, Draws - 1, Liverpool - 2 wins.

Overall: Liverpool - 5 wins, Draws - 3, Plymouth Argyle - 2 wins. 

Last meeting: Plymouth Argyle 2-3 Liverpool, 28 April 1962, Football League Division Two.

Recent form


Form in the Premier League: WWWWD
Form at home (all comps): WWDWW

Plymouth Argyle

Form in League Two: WWDWL
Form away from home (all comps): WWLWL

Match facts

This is the first meeting between Liverpool and Plymouth in 55 years and their first ever encounter in the FA Cup.

Plymouth have never won at Anfield out of five attempts, their best results being two draws throughout 1954 and 1961. 

Liverpool haven't lost to a team at least three divisions below them in the FA Cup since a defeat to non-league side Worcester City in 1959.

But the Reds have been knocked out by lower league opponents six times since the turn of the century, losing to Blackburn Rovers in 2000, Crystal Palace in 2003, Burnley in 2005, Barnsley in 2008, Reading in 2010 and Oldham Athletic in 2013.

Liverpool have reached the fourth round of the FA Cup on their last five attempts, a defeat away at Manchester United in 2010-11 the last time they failed to progress.

Liverpool haven't conceded a goal at home in the FA Cup since March 2015, when they beat Stoke City in the quarter-finals, keeping five successive clean sheet since.

Philippe Coutinho has scored in all of his last three FA Cup appearances, while Jordan Henderson has assisted three in his last five outings in this competition but hasn't scored yet in 17 appearances in the FA Cup for Liverpool.

Plymouth have been knocked out in each of their last 11 FA Cup meetings against top-flight teams, their last win coming against West Bromwich Albion in the fifth round in 1983-84.