Reds youngsters held by Plymouth as Blues cruise
LONDON: Fourth-tier Plymouth Argyle shut up shop and kept the door firmly closed to earn a superb 0-0 draw away to Liverpool’s youngest ever starting XI in yesterday’s FA Cup third round tie at Anfield.
Determined defending and unstinting effort kept the League Two team in the game against opponents lying second in the Premier League, almost 70 places above them.
Leaders Chelsea had no such trouble against third tier Peterborough United, winning 4-1 despite having John Terry sent off, and Middlesbrough also had a man dismissed but beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-0.
With a League Cup semifinal Klopp had made 10 changes from the side that drew at Sunderland last Monday and fielded five teenagers.
Spurred on by almost 9 000 noisy fans who had travelled the 470 kilometres to Merseyside, Argyle defended stoutly while showing little ambition to go forward and test a Liverpool defence in which Joe Gomez returnedafter more than 15 months’ absence with injury.
They had only 23 percent of the possession, not managing a shot for 60 minutes and finally bringing a save from goalkeeper Loris Karius five minutes later.
The home side, however, had few outstanding chances despite 28 attempts on goal.
Sheyi Ojo, 19, missed with a header from six metres out early on, 17-year-old Ben Woodburn was denied by goalkeeper Luke McCormick and when Divock Origi put the ball in the net he was adjudged to have fouled his marker.
Klopp waited until just over an hour had been played before making any substitutions. He sent on Daniel Sturridge for Emre Can and the England international immediately put a shot just wide.
Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino then replaced Ovie Ejaria, 19, and Woodburn.
A lively presence, the Welshman had nevertheless been denied further scoring chances by Plymouth’s packed defence and tight marking.
As pressure increased in the last 10 minutes, Sturridge sent a weak header and then a low drive wide, and McCormick clutched a deflection off a defender right on the line to earn a replay.
Spanish Pedro scored twice as Chelsea went through at home to Peterborough.
He gave them the lead after 18 minutes, which was extended by Belgian forward Michi Batshuayi and Willian.
Terry, making his first start since October, was then sent off for dragging down Lee Angol to prevent a clear goalscoring opportunity, but Pedro scored his second goal for the 10 men after Tom Nichols pulled one back.
Defender Daniel Ayala was the Middlesbrough miscreant at home to Championship side Wednesday, also receiving a straight red.
The Premier League team led 1-0 at that point after skipper Grant Leadbitter’s direct free-kick.
Alvaro Negredo scored a second following a goalkeeping error and Marten de Roon claimed the third in added time.
Earlier Fulham reached the fourth round with a 2-1 win away to Cardiff City.
The winning goal was bundled in by 16-year-old Ryan Sessegnon, an England Under-17 international, making him one of the youngest scorers in the history of the competition.
In the late game Spurs beat Aston Villa 2-0 to advance. – Reuters