Liverpool 0, Plymouth Argyle 0
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he has no regrets about his selection gamble after an FA Cup stalemate with fourth-tier Plymouth exacerbated the Reds’ fixture congestion.
Klopp selected the youngest starting XI in Liverpool’s history for Sunday’s third round tie and they failed to break down an Argyle side determined to defend in numbers.
A replay on the south coast next week means Klopp’s men face a gruelling sequence of four matches in 15 days, starting at Southampton on Wednesday, but the German was unrepentant.
“As a manager, you make a decision. You can criticise, but if I have regret or whatever, that makes no sense. I should have thought about what I did before the game,” he said.
“It’s not the result that we wished but it’s not frustrating because that’s football.
“They lost patience too early, tried to force this or that, so we didn’t see the right play at the right moment. This team could have played much better than that.
“I don’t know exactly how big it is but the whole of Plymouth was inside the 18-yard box. You need to stay cool in those situations – that’s the biggest challenge in football, to play against a deep defending side.
“The smaller they can make the spaces, the less the quality difference is obvious – that’s how it is.
“They are really young boys. It isn’t a problem, we will try it again against Plymouth, 100 per cent. If we do better we can win and if we don’t, we don’t deserve it.”
Winger Sheyi Ojo’s missed header was perhaps Liverpool’s best chance, while substitute Daniel Sturridge twice shot narrowly wide as Klopp threw on his stars in search of a goal.
League Two Plymouth allowed the Reds to dominate possession but conceded just four shots on target.
Liverpool’s unfamiliar XI included a first start for 17-year-old forward Ben Woodburn and the return of former Charlton defender Joe Gomez after 15 months out injured.