FA Cup Preview: Liverpool’s kids to shine?

fa cupPeterborough United’s recent defensive improvement will be tested to the max at Chelsea in the FA Cup this weekend. Elsewhere, Sheffield Wednesday look to continue their solid run of form against Premier League Middlesbrough while League Two Plymouth await the trip of a lifetime to Anfield…

Liverpool v Plymouth

Liverpool are 6/5 to win this match with a two goal handicap with Betway, which seems generous given the quality of their fringe players. Ben Woodburn became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer after he came off the bench in November’s League Cup quarter-final with Leeds. The 17-year-old, alongside fellow teenagers Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ovie Ejaria, have impressed when given a chance and should again be used this weekend. Plymouth are second in League Two but their form since mid-November has been mixed and goal expectancy statistics suggest fortune had an influence on a few of their earlier wins. If Argyle are to have any chance at Anfield, even against a second-string Reds side, they need another wonder show from goalkeeper Luke McCormick. 4-0

Chelsea v Peterborough

Over the years, Peterborough United have built up a reputation for slick, attacking football but this term, their strengths lie further back. Michael Bostwick has impressed, particularly when deployed in his favoured defensive midfield role, while Ryan Tafazolli is commanding in the air. The centre-back could face the legendary master of his type of role in John Terry, who may be fit for the hosts. At the other end, Michy Batshuayi could be given a chance to worm his way into the first team, but the signs are Antonio Conte is reluctant to bank on the Belgian. We know how good Chelsea’s first eleven is – this game tests their strength in reserve. 2-0

Middlesbrough v Sheff Wed

Sheffield Wednesday are yet to provide the same wow factor that we saw from them last season, but they have also tightened up a notch. Their performance and 1-0 win at Newcastle provides evidence that the team is becoming more tactically aware. Middlesbrough’s long-held tactical awareness has helped them maintain an impressive defensive record, but it sometimes comes at the cost of bravery in the final third. They have attempted to solve that issue by adding striker Rudy Gestede, who may be better prepared for crosses into the box than his new competitor, Alvaro Negredo. 1-1


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