Liverpool will be looking to make further inroads away from the Premier League spotlight when they take on Cardiff at Anfield in the FA Cup this weekend. Jurgen Klopp has already navigated a path to the League Cup final, and with a Premier League title challenge looking increasingly unlikely at this stage, he may fancy a shot at FA Cup glory as well.
Manchester City boast a seemingly unassailable cushion at the Premier League summit, so Klopp will likely recalibrate his intentions for the campaign, and with domestic cups so far eluding the German since he pitched up on Merseyside, an assault on England’s most-revered knockout tournament could be on the cards.
The Reds have already seen off Shrewsbury Town with relative ease, winning 4-1 despite putting out a heavily-rotated side that saw Fabinho notch a collector’s item brace, and it will likely be an unfamiliar XI once again, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah yet to return from Afcon, with both players through to Sunday’s final.
Cardiff, now with Steve Morison at the helm, are staring down the Championship barrel, with the Bluebirds currently 20th in the table, so he may welcome this game as a timely distraction to have a go at one of the big boys, particularly if Klopp adopts his usual cup stance of tinkering to the extreme.
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Liverpool vs Cardiff: Match Stats
Roberto Firmino ended his final-third drought in the previous round against Shrewsbury — having not previously netted since mid-October — so he may be earmarking this contest as another opportunity to generate some confidence and get back into his scoring rhythm.
Cardiff meanwhile will be looking to thwart Liverpool, and that may come either by hook or crook. Morison’s men have racked up the fourth-most bookings of any Championship side this season (65), so Liverpool can probably expect a bit of argy-bargy when the Welshmen rock up.
21 Apr 2019 – Cardiff 0-2 Liverpool – Premier League
27 Oct 2018 – Liverpool 4-1 Cardiff – Premier League
22 Mar 2014 – Cardiff 3-6 Liverpool – Premier League
21 Dec 2013 – Liverpool 3-1 Cardiff – Premier League
26 Feb 2012 – Cardiff 2-2 Liverpool – League Cup
The standout fixture in this timeline is, of course, that League Cup final showdown nearly 10 years ago to the day. Compatriots Malky Mackay and Kenny Dalglish went to war (tactically) in the Wembley showpiece, with a penalty shootout required to determine the victor on the day. Despite Liverpool missing their first two penalties, through Steven Gerrard no less and Charlie Adam, it was another Gerrard who swung this fixture. Anthony, cousin of Steven, and playing for Cardiff, missed the Bluebirds’ final spot-kick to ensure the silverware headed back to Merseyside.