By Chris Rowland.
Even those who want us to take the FA Cup seriously – and crucially that seems to include the manager and definitely the players (after last night’s win, Jordan Henderson said “We’re delighted with the result and now we need to recover and get ready for the FA Cup tie at Arsenal on Sunday. It’s a competition we want to do well in and we want to kick on again.”) – would surely prefer another League game to keep our run going.
But you get what you get, and in some ways this is a game where the pressure is off the Reds. Getting knocked out of a cup away to Arsenal is hardly an unimaginable disaster, like losing to – ooh, say Oldham away.
Although Arsenal’s team and most definitely their fans will surely relish the opportunity to exact some revenge and exorcise the deep pain of last week, at the same time there must be some element of consternation about facing a team that so recently showed its capacity to reduce them to finely-chopped mincemeat.
So like the League campaign itself, maybe it’s time to just relax, enjoy the ride and see where it takes us. Just one thought – if we think a draw would be unwelcome, think how much more unwelcome it would be for the Gunners with their European involvement (although that could be short-lived, given their next opponents).
Over 5,000 Reds fans – although far fewer than the allocation we should nominally get – will add to what should be a great atmosphere, and a fascinating match between two sides who choose to play football. Kick-off is 16.00 GMT on Sunday February 16th.
A brief history of Liverpool- Arsenal in the FA Cup
There’s something permanent and hardcore about seeing these two sides meet. It feels like it’s always been there, and nearly always been significant.
Our first-ever FA Cup meeting was with the then-still Woolwich Arsenal, at the Manor Ground, 1st February 1913, with Liverpool winning 4-1.
My own memory of the two meeting was the childhood scar induced by Charlie George in the 1971 Final, lying flat on his back, unsmiling, arms outstretched, after scoring the goal that completed the Gunners’ comeback from 1-0 down in extra-time and completing the double, having clinched the league by winning 1-0 at Spurs with a goal by our old boy Ray Kennedy. Arsenal also won, 2-0, in the 1950 Final. Liverpool’s agonising wait for the trophy would have to wait for another 15 years.
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