Jurgen Klopp is keeping hold of that element of surprise when his Liverpool team takes on Chelsea in the FA Cup. It’s a very smart move.
“The line-up will be shown tomorrow night and not now and here,” Klopp told his pre-match press conference (per Liverpoolfc.com). “We have no clue what Chelsea is doing, so why should Chelsea know what we are doing? That’s it, pretty much.”
And so for the first time in the FA Cup this season, we actually have no idea what kind of team Klopp will play. He played the kids in the 3rd Round tie against Everton, of course.
Then there was a mix – but still mostly the kids – against Shrewsbury before a full under-23 side for the replay. Against Chelsea, though, we really don’t know.
And that’s a good thing. Chelsea don’t know either, of course, and it certainly makes their preparation a lot more difficult.
They can’t build their side based on expectations. Liverpool could actually do anything. It could be a team with several teenagers. It could be the strongest XI.
Mentally, that’s difficult to prepare for. Chelsea’s players won’t know what they’re up against until an hour before the game – whereas we know Liverpool decide on their own factors. They put out the kids against Everton’s senior side, after all, not worried about their opponents’ threat of experience.
On top of that, Chelsea haven’t gone with a full youth side this season. That alone means Liverpool do somewhat know what to expect and can prepare in ways Chelsea simply can’t.
So Klopp will put out the team he wants against Chelsea, along with the element of surprise. It won’t decide the match but it is a handy advantage for what will be a tough game.