The historic double hunt may have just gotten a little easier for Liverpool. The Reds’ path appears to be clearing at the right time.
Liverpool haven’t won the double since 1986. That could well change this season as we’d currently back the Reds as favourites for both the Premier League and FA Cup.
The biggest question is, arguably, the FA Cup as Jurgen Klopp tends to heavily rotate in the competition. But as we recently wrote, returning players and a deeper squad make things easier.
And things suddenly look even brighter in that regard.
Liverpool travel to Aston Villa in the third round – the site of their 7-2 thrashing, of course. But Dean Smith admits he’ll likely rotate in the competition.
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That’s potentially huge for Liverpool’s chance.
We still expect Klopp to rotate heavily. There have been too many games recently and too many injuries on top of that. It makes sense to rest players and prioritise the league.
He did that a year ago at Villa in the League Cup, of course, and lost 5-0. They put their first-team out in that game, however.
And if this comes down to Liverpool’s depth vs Villa’s depth, we’ll back the former by a distance. The Reds have a much richer squad, after all. And if players come back, the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri in reserve shine over the squad players at Smith’s disposal.
Getting past this round would be huge, too. Injuries will only ease further (fingers crossed), allowing strong squads in latter rounds.
And the closer Liverpool get to winning the competition, the more seriously they’ll take it. We can’t see Klopp passing up the chance at that historic double.
This is a fairly big boost for the plan, then. Liverpool can afford to rotate without sacrificing the competition and that, in our eyes, makes them huge favourites to win the whole thing.