Hi again haters!
And here you thought I was done bothering you ‘til Friday but, alas, another game – this an FA Cup quarterfinal replay – popped up, and I think it’s safe to assume Big Cat is functioning at about 17% capacity at the moment so I’m gonna kill two birds with one stone by providing you with a little preview and him with a little extra content.
So if an annoyingly loquacious introductory section is what you are itching for, apologies, you’ll just have to wait two more days for that. Let’s get to it…
The FA Cup field has been narrowed down to the final five at this point, meaning you’d think they would all be teams that are (a) really good and/or (b) hot at the moment. We can debate whether one or both of the club’s playing today fits the first category, but there is no doubt that neither are in particularly fine form at the moment.
Liverpool is fresh off of one of its worst performances in years, a 4-1 throttling at the hands of Arsenal that wasn’t even as close as the score would indicate (preceded by a 2-1 loss at home to United). Those two results mean that the club’s best-case-scenario for this season involves sneaking away with fifth place, thus assuring themselves of Spursday night soccer next season. So there is still arguably a little to play for and yet the spectre of an FA Cup trophy clearly has to be front and center in the players’ – and especially Brendan Rodgers’ – minds right now. Importantly, however, the club is saddled with a number of injuries and suspensions (Gerrard, Skrtel and Can), with others like Mario Balotelli on the fence.
Blackburn sits in 10th place in the Championship and is not particularly close to grabbing one of the playoff spots to win a golden ticket back up to the EPL, which also means the FA Cup is their one shining light of possible glory this season. Unfortunately they come in having lost two of their last three, both at home no less, plus the club is facing at least as many injury/suspension woes as the Reds.
Conclusion: make no mistake, this is a dangerous game for Liverpool. Goals have proven especially difficult to come by of late. [In fact, random trivia time! Who is the club’s leading scorer in the FA Cup this year and how many goals do they have? Answer: Steven Gerrard with… wait for it… TWO!] That said, playing at home may turn out to play against Blackburn in this game as they essentially parked the bus for 90 minutes in the first leg, so I expect they will grow some balls this time in front of their home fans and actually go for it a little bit, which will end up giving Liverpool an opening or two that Sterling and/or Sturridge’s Shadow will eventually make good one.
Liverpool to win 2-0.
There are also a couple notable games in Spain and one in Deutschland on the docket for today, including one involving the Little Maestro himself (Barca vs Almeria at 2pm ET on beIN Sport) followed immediately by the World’s Suavest Douchebag (Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid at 4pm ET on beIN Sport), PLUS Leverkusen hosting Bayern (2:30pm ET), buttttttt the last of these is apparently only available on sketchy Russian websites… so good luck with that.
Aight, that’s all for now. I’ll be back on Friday with the normal weekend preview.
Note: if you ever are DYING to read words about soccer, the link to my latest post can always be found on my twitter homepage (just an FYI)
Samuel A. Army