by Ian S. Palmer
The third round of the English FA Cup is far from over as several replays are needed due to tied games just over a week ago. Back on January 8, fans saw Exeter City of League Two host Premier League giants Liverpool at St. James’ Park in Exeter and hold them to a 2-2 draw. The two sides will now try to settle things in the replay at Anfield in Liverpool on Wednesday, January 20. Liverpool enters the match following a 1-0 home loss to arch rivals Manchester United in league play last Sunday while Exeter won their match on the road 3-1 against Leyton Orient.
Liverpool vs Exeter City – Pinnacle SOCCER BETTING LINE:
- Pinnacle lists Liverpool as the current favorites at -370 with Exeter +1240 and a draw at +512
Liverpool will once again be missing several players due to injuries including Philippe Coutinho, Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel, Divock Origi, Joe Gomez, Danny Ings and of course Daniel Sturridge. There’s a chance that Lovren could return and nobody really knows what’s going on with Sturridge. Liverpool currently sits in ninth place in the Premier League with 31 points from eight wins, seven draws and seven losses. They’ve scored 25 goals and allowed 28 against. The Reds have five victories, four draws and four defeats in their past 13 outings in all competitions with 17 goals scored and 16 conceded. They have three wins in their past seven fixtures and are winless in three with a pair of draws and a loss.
Exeter currently occupies 14th place in the 24-team fourth-tier League Two with 34 points. They have nine wins, seven draws and 10 losses with 35 goals for and 39 against. Exeter has five wins, a four draws and four losses in their past 13 fixtures with 21 goals for and 18 against. They had lost four in a row before meeting Liverpool on January 8 with three of those defeats coming at home. They’re now undefeated since then with two draws and a win. This is Exeter’s first appearance in the third round of the FA Cup since 2005. They managed a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United back then, but were 2-0 losers in the replay at home. They reached the third round this year after beating Port Vale of League One 2-0 last month.
Liverpool has been struggling this season even after former manager Brendan Rodgers was sacked and replaced with Juergen Klopp of Germany. They’ve been eliminated from the FA Cup competition by teams from lower divisions four times in the past 10 seasons and last won the trophy in 2005/06. Klopp appears to share the same typical negative attitude as many other soccer managers. Liverpool shelled out a lot of cash for Belgian international striker Christian Benteke last summer only to see Klopp leave him on the bench half the time. In addition, if the manager had fielded a stronger squad in the first meeting against Exeter, there might not be any need for a replay for a manager who is complaining about the number of fixtures his team has.
Liverpool and Exeter City met in the League Cup tournament back in the 2011/12 season with Liverpool winning 3-1 in Exeter. Exeter will be hoping for a big game from 22-year-old forward Tom Nichols as he leads his team in scoring. The winner of this game is scheduled to meet Premier League side West Ham United at home in the fourth round.
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