Ahh the FA Cup. Boy do we love it. It gives the minnows the chance to generate extra income as they proceed through the knockout stages. It also creates that ‘what if’ thought of reaching the finals and gracing the Wembley pitch. Don’t we all love the underdog in a cup game who goes onto achieve the unthinkable – knock out a Premier League side worth millions? So as Brendan Rodgers sips his left over birthday bubbly tonight, there will be one thought on his mind. How on earth did a relegation threatened, league one team, with financial problems kick us out? Let’s get this straight. When you’re the underdog, there’s no pressure as there’s no expectation. It’s also easier when you’re on home turf as well. That’s reason number one. The other reason would be that the team is just not good enough. Rodgers can blame the youngsters all he wants. Fact is, the majority of the players on the pitch were not tasting first team football after a long time. We have been working with the same players for the whole of the campaign so that leaves no excuses.
In addition, Rodgers has been relying heavily on the youngsters anyway, so apart from Coates and Robinson, who else in the team selected for the match, can be deemed inexperienced? The team just didn’t gel tonight and the defence was an absolute shambles in particular the centre back partnership of Coates and Skrtel. Jones’ goalkeeping was poor and chances were not taken by the likes of Sterling and Borini. I have got to give credit to Jose Baxter and Matt Smith who dominated superbly. From the outset, there was applied pressure with an early goal that did, in all honesty, rattle Liverpool. So as the January transfer window draws to a close, Monday morning will bring the excitement of the impending medical of Brazilian Coutinho, who it seems finally decided to sign on the dotted line. This is another 20-year-old youngster mind you, with a couple of tricks up his sleeves it seems. He’ll fit in nicely with the South Americans, but will he be able to blend in nicely with the mediocrity around him? Time will tell. Let’s hope his 8.5 million fee pays dividends.