The much anticipated FA Cup 4th Round tie between the mighty Cherries and the mighty Liverpool leaves Reds manager Brendan Rodgers with a dilemma. Does he play his full strength side or does he field a ‘strong’ side with one eye on the Merseyside derby three days later.
Seeing Liverpool getting knocked out of the FA Cup will be great for the neutrals, newspapers, media outlets and of course the AFC Bournemouth fans. But, in reality what’s more important? Ask Liverpool fans and we are sure a win against local rivals Everton and another 3 points towards fourth place in the Premiership and Champions League football would get here vote. How can the FA Cup and AFC Bournemouth compete with that combination.
Let’s be honest we can’t but the same principles can be applied to Bournemouth. Obviously not the Champions League football, but the 3 valuable points towards another season in the Championship. These would be far more valuable than a fifth round tie. Beating Liverpool would send AFC Bournemouth into FA Cup folklore for the second, or even third time, depends on how old you are. But, while beating Liverpool would be a gift opened with welcoming hands, it really is a side dish, albeit, a very tasty one.
Thankfully, there is no dilemma for the Cherries, we are expected to get beaten, so if we win, brilliant, if we lose, nothing lost. If we draw its a replay at Anfield, probably on a Tuesday, something that neither team will really want. So, it has the potential to be an open game with both teams going for victory. It could be an FA Cup classic.
Getting back the the Liverpool team selection dilemma who will play? Brendan Rodgers said in his Thursday press conference, “We’ve only got 15 players training at the moment, so there’s not a lot of choice with the line-up this weekend.We’ll name a strong line-up against Bournemouth. Although the Premier League is the priority, Liverpool is a club built on winning trophies and we want to win the FA Cup.We’ll call up some of our young players to cover for the amount of injuries/illness we’ve got out.We’ll also play with lots of our experienced players, alongside the youngsters. We want to maintain our commitment and work.”
Do we like the sound of that? Of course we do, it give us, the underdogs, a ray of hope.
A recent poll on the Bleacher Report site posed the question, “How strong a team should Liverpool field vs. Bournemouth?” It seems that the fans don’t want to see a full strength side. The popular answer was ‘Rotate where possible, leaving in Suarez, Henderson etc.’ with over 50% of the vote. If the fans get the team they want, there is another little ray of hope.
There is no doubt that a ‘strong’ Liverpool side will still be hard to beat, but all the little pointers give us hope and belief that AFC Bournemouth can get the job done. COYR