Just how will Jurgen Klopp handle Liverpool’s FA Cup clash with Manchester United? That’s the big question as the two giants prepare to face one another.
So Liverpool will face Manchester United twice in one week. That became the case as soon as Peter Crouch drew the two giants against one another for the FA Cup fourth round.
The two teams will meet on Sunday, of course, as 1st v 2nd in the Premier League. The game at Anfield promises to be one of the biggest this season – perhaps the overall biggest.
Then, just a week later, they’ll meet at Old Trafford in the FA Cup. That promises to be a huge game, too.
Unlike the league meeting, though, questions hang over it. Principally, how will Jurgen Klopp handle the FA Cup clash?
Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now
It’s certainly not clear, given Klopp has never taken the FA Cup too seriously. It’s hard to tell if this time will be any different.
Liverpool did go very strong against a weak Aston Villa side, which suggests the Reds want to win the competition. But that could also have simply been a form and fitness thing.
Liverpool have over a week between that game and their following fixture. Klopp could afford to put out a strong side, then.
This FA Cup game won’t be the same. Liverpool will play Burnley a few days before it and Tottenham Hotspur a few days after.
So rather than look to the Villa game for a preview, we can look to last season.
This isn’t just an FA Cup game, after all. It’s against United – one of the club’s two biggest rivals. Any believe that the rivalry will enter Klopp’s thinking is false, however.
Liverpool played their other main rivals in last season’s competition, of course. They hosted Everton in the 3rd Round after a tough December.
And taking that into account, Klopp put out a severely weakened team. He played kids against Everton’s first-team, offering no thought to the rivalry.
He prioritised the league completely, not seeming to worry about the cup fortunes.
Liverpool won anyway, we shouldn’t forget, which certainly is hilarious.
That game does set a precedent, though. Klopp will almost certainly rotate heavily at Old Trafford, given the close proximity to Premier League games.
So while it would be nice to envisage a huge cup game, it’s far more likely to see at least one second-string team out there.