Wimbledon Vs Liverpool 11 Things You Need To Know About This Fa Cup Third Round Clash
On Monday evening, Liverpool get their FA Cup campaign underway with a trip to Kingsmeadow, where they will face AFC Wimbledon.
After falling in the second round against fierce rivals MK Dons last year, the League Two side have done well to go a step further this year and reach the third round for the first time in their short history.
But more importantly than that, the match-up with Liverpool promises a re-run of the 1988 FA Cup final when these teams met – the London club in an admittedly different guise – and the Crazy Gang beat the odds to lift the famous old cup.
Can Neal Ardley”s side channel the spirit of “88 to record a famous victory over Liverpool, or will Brendan Rodgers” men march into the fourth round?
Here”s everything you need to know ahead of the game.
1. When is it and where can I watch it?
The two sides meet at Kingsmeadow on Monday January 5th, for a 7.55pm kick-off in the third round of the FA Cup.
BBC One will be showing the game live with build-up from 7.30pm, but if you”re unable to watch or just want a different perspective, Mirror Football will be live-blogging the game.
2. Team news
Wimbledon: Sammy Moore and Adebayo Akinfenwa should both be fit to play for the Wombles, while the manager will also be able to call on the services of Jake Goodman, who is on loan from Millwall.
Neal Ardley will also be able to call on defender Adam Barrett – his current loan deal from Gillingham expires after this game.
Liverpool: For the Reds, Martin Skrtel returns from suspension, while centre-back Dejan Lovren is also back in contention after spending the festive period on the sidelines with a groin injury.
Striker Mario Balotelli may miss out – he”s set for a late fitness test after missing the New Year”s Day draw with Leicester.
John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty ImagesBack in contention: Skrtel is available following his suspension
3. Predicted sides
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Goodman, Barrett, Kennedy, Francomb, Moore, Bulman, Rigg, Akinfenwa, Tubbs
Liverpool: Mignolet, Lovren, Skrtel, Sakho, Can, Henderson, Lucas, Markovic, Coutinho, Sterling, Lallana
4. Reasons for Wimbledon to be optimistic
While most will write the Dons off beofre this one has even started, Wimbledon will know that crazier things have happened – and will no-doubt be looking to the Crazy Gang, and that famous 1988 FA Cup final, for inspiration.
Neal Ardley will also benefit from the fact that his side are well rested, having last played on December 28th, after their match with Cambridge earlier this week was postponed.
That”s given several players a chance to return to fitness, so he”ll be able to name a strong side.
Wimbledon are also on a good run, winning four of their five games in December.
GettyCrazy times: Sanchez scores Wimbledon”s winner against Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup final
5. Reasons for Liverpool to be optimistic
Liverpool are immense favourites going into this one, although they”ll know – like all of the Premier League teams – that the early rounds of the FA Cup can throw up plenty of banana skins.
However, Brendan Rodgers only needs to look at the professionalism his side displayed to ease past Bournemouth in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup last month.
That 3-1 win gave us the clearest indication yet of how Raheem Sterling can operate as the furthest man forward, and it”s very likely that we”ll see a similar setup by Rodgers again for this one.
6. Recent form guide
Wimbledon”s last five results
Dec 28th: Wimbledon 4-1 ExeterDec 26th: Portsmouth 0-2 WimbledonDec 20th: Wimbledon 0-1 MansfieldDec 13th: York 2-3 WimbledonDec 7th: Wycombe 0-1 Wimbledon (FA Cup)
Liverpool”s last five results
Jan 1st: Liverpool 2-2 Leicester CityDec 29th: Liverpool 4-1 SwanseaDec 26th: Burnley 0-1 LiverpoolDec 21st: Liverpool 2-2 ArsenalDec 17th: Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool (Capital One Cup)
7. Previous meetings
Liverpool have never played against AFC Wimbledon. They only came into existence in 2002 and didn”t reach League Two until 2011.
But the team from Anfield regularly came up against the original Wimbledon FC, before their controversial relocation and rebranding in 2003 as the MK Dons.
In the years prior, Wimbledon had been top-flight stalwarts for all of the “90s and the late “80s.
Apr 2000: Wimbledon FC 1-2 Liverpool (Premier League)Dec 1999: Liverpool 3-1 Wimbledon FCMay 1999: Liverpool 3-0 Wimbledon FCDec 1998: Wimbledon FC 1-0 LIverpoolJan 1998: Liverpool 2-0 Wimbledon FC
8. Key man for the Dons
Action ImagesStrongman: Akinfenwa is desperate to do well against the club he supports
If there”s anyone who can be a handful for absolutely any defence, it”s Adebayo Akinfenwa, the journeyman hitman of the Football League.
He may have played for nearly as many clubs as he has scored FA Cup goals (11 versus 17, in case you were wondering), but the man who was last year named the world”s most powerful footballer could be a nightmare proposition for a Liverpool defence low on confidence.
The Reds” backline have been particularly suspect at set pieces and Bayo – a self-confessed Liverpool fan – has the strength to prove a real handful in the box.
9. Key man for the Reds
ReutersStar man: Raheem Sterling has become Liverpool”s main man this season
Raheem Sterling will be looking to put in another big performance and emulate his display against Bournemouth last month.
The young England international has been growing into the role of a false nine striker in recent weeks but will want to improve his goal tally and develop more ruthlessness.
That”s exactly what we saw from him against the Cherries, where he had the time and space to flourish.
It”s been much harder going for him against Premier League opposition, so he”ll want to get some goals under his belt against Wimbledon.
10. Betting odds
Paddy Power have Liverpool down at 2/9 favourites, while a Wimbledon victory can be had for 10/1.
They”ve got a draw down at 6/1. Remember, such a stalemate would result in a replay.
11. Quote corner
Alan Bennett on playing against Liverpool: "There is one major upset every year – we need to give ourselves the biggest chance of being the ones to produce it.
“We will play up to being the minnows, the fans will make it hostile and we’re going to make sure it’s uncomfortable for them."
“The day after the draw, Neal came in and laid down the law. He said it was a great draw and it will be a great week building up to it but until then we were to forget about it. We were told to do no media and for there to be no talk around the dressing room about it."
Brendan Rodgers on how his door is always open to Gerrard (to LFCTV): "I do genuinely believe that he is that type, he can offer great advice. It”s whether it”s something that he wants to do.
"When players retire and finish, they have been in this cauldron for so many years and especially with the eyes on you at a club like this here.
"They move away and they might find that after a year or two out of it, it”s actually not something they want to do and there are other opportunities for them that are maybe less stressful than moving into coaching and management."
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