Could cup quirk aid Klopp? Nov23

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Could cup quirk aid Klopp?

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The draw for the third round of the FA Cup is not due to be held until December 7, and the big boys will not kick a ball in anger in that competition until the weekend of January 9, but dreams of Wembley are starting to form for those expected to mount a serious challenge for major silverware.

Liverpool will consider themselves to be part of that ambitious group, with there a determination on their part to ensure that a trophy drought at Anfield is ended at the four-year mark.

There are, of course, other avenues for them to tread in that quest, with the Reds still on course to replicate their Treble heroics of 2001.

It would be a big ask of the class of 2015 to emulate those achievements, but anything is possible as progress continues to be made at home and abroad.


They also have a man at the helm accustomed to competing for top honours, with Jurgen Klopp having tasted league and cup success with former employers Borussia Dortmund.

Three cup clashes under his tenure so far have delivered two wins and a draw, two clean sheets and progression to the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup and a favourable standing within Europa League Group B.

Who is to say that they cannot go all the way in either, possibly both, of those events, with Gerard Houllier having shown some 15 years ago that momentum and belief can be a powerful tool in the pursuit of trophies.

Fixtures in both of those campaigns will be taken in by the time attention shifts to FA Cup matters, but the Reds may feel that a positive path is already being drawn out for them there.

Why? Because we are about to enter a year ending in the number six. It would be foolish to write the Reds off in any FA Cup betting market.

Over the course of the last 30 years, Liverpool have picked up a tidy habit of reaching finals in calendar years of this kind.

Turn the clock back to 1986, and you will find that the Reds prevailed 3-1 in a meeting with Merseyside rivals Everton – with an early effort from Gary Lineker doing little to knock them out of their stride as they plundered three goals after the interval.

Ten years on and they were back at Wembley, although some rather questionable attire from the so-called ‘Spice Boys’ diverted attention away from matters on the field as Eric Cantona struck late on to land Manchester United a domestic double.

If that contest was largely forgettable, the same cannot be said of events a decade later.

With the new Wembley under construction, Liverpool and West Ham United contested the last final to be staged at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium – and quite a show they put on too, with Steven Gerrard’s heroics now the stuff of legend as he almost single-handedly dragged the Reds through to penalty shoot-out success.

Will there be a fourth instalment in this tale? Who knows, but with a bit of luck, a favourable draw or two and a sprinkling of magic dust from those on and off the field then anything could happen.