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The Emirates FA Cup 3rd Round, Anfield, Liverpool
Liverpool Sun 8th Jan - 13:30pm Plymouth Argyle


Half Time 0:0

Match Report

Liverpool were held to a goalless draw by Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup third-round tie at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

The League Two club earned themselves a replay with the Reds after frustrating Jürgen Klopp’s side with a determined defensive display on Merseyside.

One positive for the home team was the welcome sight of the long-awaited return of Joe Gomez after injury, but Liverpool were ultimately unable to turn their dominance of the ball into goals meaning the sides must meet again to decide who takes a place in round four.

The key points…

Reds unable to force breakthrough against the Pilgrims, who claim a replay.

Gomez returned after injury and Woodburn made first start in youthful XI.

Sturridge, Firmino and Lallana come off bench in second half.

The team news…

Jürgen Klopp opted for 10 changes to his starting line-up for the encounter, with Gomez making a first appearance since October 2015 following injury.

There were also starts for Ben Woodburn, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ovie Ejaria, while Daniel Sturridge was named on the bench.

It was statistically the youngest line-up ever fielded in the club’s history.

The first half…

With the entire Anfield Road End of the stadium given to the visiting supporters, a typical cup tie atmosphere greeted the start of the contest as Plymouth set about looking to cause an upset.

Liverpool, however, were eager to quell the enthusiasm of their guests, with Ejaria and Kevin Stewart both striking wide early on.

Then, on 15 minutes, the Reds should have opened the scoring when Emre Can reacted quickest to his own free-kick striking a Pilgrims’ wall. The German looped a header back into the danger zone, where it fell invitingly for Sheyi Ojo, but he couldn’t get enough on the ball to divert it beyond Luke McCormick.

Soon after, Can was involved again in a good opportunity, this time feeding Woodburn inside the box, who skipped away from a challenge but had his prod blocked by the goalkeeper at close range.

Liverpool did have the ball in the back of the net just after the 20-minute mark when Divock Origi scooped home a bouncing ball inside the box; however, the Belgium forward was penalised for climbing on Gary Miller.

The Reds continued to pin Plymouth back, but their dogged defending was providing stubborn resistance to the home side’s endeavours, ensuring the teams returning to the dressing room at the break with the scoreline still goalless.

The second half…

The pattern of play didn’t differ much in the opening exchanges of the second period, though Liverpool had to wait until Lucas’ long-ranger on 56 minutes to test McCormick again.

Prior to that, Loris Karius had been required to deal with Graham Carey’s attempt from a free-kick from distance.

With Plymouth still standing firm, Klopp elected to introduce Sturridge into the action just after the hour, with the striker taking the place of Can.

His impact was almost immediate as he side-footed inches wide of the post from just outside the area.

Just over 10 minutes later, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana were also brought on, taking the places of Ejaria and Woodburn.

As the game entered its final stages, Sturridge grazed the side netting with a low drive from inside the box, but it was to be Plymouth’s day as they stood firm through six minutes of added time to force a replay.

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