Forget Taking The FA Cup Seriously, Liverpool Need to Rotate And Start These Players Against Wolves
Liverpool go into their FA Cup game against Wolves on Monday night four points clear at the top of the Premier League and within touching distance of greatness.
A first top flight title since 1990 is a genuine possibility for this Liverpool squad but the first doubts of the campaign have emerged over the last few days in the wake of their 2-1 defeat at Man City on Thursday night. A win at the Etihad would have almost put the title to bed with a ten point lead but they now have the defending champions hot on their heels and few would be surprised if the two north-west clubs were locked together for the remainder of the campaign.
That puts Jurgen Klopp in a tricky situation with the FA Cup game in mind, with his team selection likely to be under great scrutiny. The German manager will be desperate to avoid a second defeat on the bounce but make no mistake, this is the perfect opportunity for some of the key men at Anfield to put their feet up and rest their legs.
The busy festive period was successful for Liverpool but the big games are going to come thick and fast over the next few weeks which means this game has to be used to rotate as many first team players as possible.
An FA Cup success will be no consolation for the Anfield club if they don't win the Premier League this season and anyone who believes otherwise is kidding themselves. The big game over the next seven days is the away match at Brighton in the league on Saturday, and if that means playing an under-strength team at Molineux on Monday evening then so be it.
Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Alberto Moreno, Naby Keita and Simon Mignolet are just a handful of the players that should start the FA Cup 3rd round match. Young defender Ki-Jana Hoever is also likely to be in the travelling party having impressed in first team training recently with one or two youth products likely to get their first chance at the first team squad.
As fans, we all want our team to win trophies but in truth the FA Cup just isn't enough for the big clubs these days. Arsene Wenger won the domestic cup regularly throughout the last decade of his tenure at the Arsenal but that didn't stop the barrage of criticism he faced for their lack of a title challenge in the Premier League.
It is of course nice to win the FA Cup, but no more than that, Jurgen Klopp has one priority this season and it certainly isn't walking up those famous steps at Wembley in May. Liverpool fans should be ready to watch a hugely experimental line-up on Monday and no one should be surprised or upset s a result.
Sorry FA Cup, three points against Brighton this weekend is all that matters.
Predicted Liverpool v Brighton: Mignolet, Milner, Fabinho, Van Dijk, Moreno, Henderson, Lallana, Keita, Shaqiri, Sturridge, Origi