Competition: FA Cup – Exeter City FC vs. Liverpool FC
Venue: St James Park – Friday, January 8 – 19:55 GMT (14:55 ET)
Match Odds: Exeter 6/1 – Draw 7/2 – Liverpool 4/9
Exeter City will be hoping for some FA Cup magic when they host Liverpool in the competition’s opening third round tie of the weekend on Friday evening.
Exeter sit 16th in League Two and are 75 places lower than Liverpool on the Football League’s ladder. A win against the Reds here would certainly go down as one of the biggest upsets in a competition famous for its unpredictability.
The Grecians come into this one in poor form though, having lost four on the bounce, and know they will need something special to come out victorious in what is undoubtedly their biggest game of the season.
They beat Didcot Town 3-0 in the first round of the FA Cup before seeing off Port Vale 2-0 in the second round, earning this prestigious clash with Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp’s men travel to Exeter off the back of their 1-0 win at Stoke in Tuesday night’s League Cup semifinal first leg. They will be expecting another cup win here but several changes are expected.
Klopp has a mounting injury list to worry about, with Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren both limping off in Tuesday’s win at Stoke, and so it will be intriguing to see who gets the nod for this one.
The Reds reached the semifinal of the FA Cup last season, only to be knocked out by Aston Villa, and will hope to go one better this time as they look to try and lift a first FA Cup trophy since 2012.
This will be the sixth meeting between the two sides. The only ever FA Cup clash between the two came in the fourth round of the 1949-50 season, with Liverpool winning 3-1 at Anfield. The most recent clash was in 2011, with the Reds winning at Exeter by the same scoreline in the second round of the League Cup.
Exeter’s last five in all competitions: W/L/L/L/L
Liverpool’s last five in all competitions: L/W/W/L/W
Key Stat: Liverpool have won each of the previous five meetings between these two sides by an aggregate scoreline of 19-2.
Key Player: Christian Benteke – The powerful Belgian striker is set to start in attack as Klopp has very few options to choose from. Benteke has often been criticised since joining Liverpool but will look to make the difference once again here.
Exeter City 1-3 Liverpool – Liverpool’s injury crisis in defence will give Exeter’s attackers confidence heading into this one but the Reds should still have more than enough to comfortably beat a side 75 places below them in the Football League.