FA Cup

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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There’s a small group, including Liverpool, that now see themselves as global super clubs, and they brush aside the romantic nostalgia of historic cup competitions. For the biggest clubs, the FA Cup is at best an emergency back door to European competition or the lesser jewel in a treble. This attitude will only become more common as super-wealthy owners move into the EPL (eg, Saudi sovereign wealth fund) and further de-prioritize cup competitions.
I think this really overstates the case. There is no doubt that domestic cups are treated as the least important competitions by big clubs but its actually quite rare for big clubs, whether in England or other top leagues, to completely blow off the major domestic cup competition the way Liverpool is doing right now. Ferguson, Wenger, and Mourinho would rotate in the FA Cup but never just throw in the towel by playing teams as weak as Klopp lined up against Shrewsbury or Everton. Guardiola has always taken the FA Cup seriously. In other leagues, clubs like Barcelona, Real, Bayern, and Juventus always make serious attempts to win their respective domestic cup competitions. The best counter-examples I can think of involve clubs like Spurs in recent years that have been very seriously stretched thin and are in dogfights for top four in which every point might be decisive. I can't think of an example of a team like Liverpool with a chance at a treble just voluntarily giving that chance away and that they're doing so with the league essentially already sewn up is particularly odd.
 

fletcherpost

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You're never ever gonna get the EPL to agree to giving up a CL spot for the FA Cup winner. I know the traditional Big 6 have a lock on the trophy last few years, but it ain't happening.
 

PedroSpecialK

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If what Klopp is referencing is true w/r/t having received a memorandum last April from the Premier League imploring teams to respect the winter break, not scheduling fixtures during this time, making it a real break etc, I don't fault him at all for calling the FA out on this. EFL fucked Liverpool over once this campaign with the Villa tie in the Carabao Cup being literally the day before the Club World Cup semifinal. Klopp obviously had no choice but to pick one of the competitions.

The FA is preaching that all clubs have full dedication to its competitions, but is the guiltiest of all major football associations with fixture congestion given the 3-in-10 days setup during the festive period while nearly every other major league in the world is on break. Sam Ricketts doesn't seem to have an issue with Klopp's approach either, though he has a little bit more to gain if Liverpool field their U23s. The bottom line for someone in Klopp's position, at least IMO, is that there's a constant take with no give for his players.

The quality of the squad means many of them are called up for continental and global competitions that take place every other year. Players are at that point out of his control, and not infrequently out of commission - see: Keïta essentially having his fitness abused by Guinea's then-manager Paul Put. During nearly every break in league play, there are one or more qualifying matches for said competitions. In the course of this Liverpool campaign alone, they've had matches across 7 different competitions - PL, CL, League Cup, FA Cup, Club World Cup, Super Cup, Community Shield. Including preseason fixtures, Liverpool's squad have played 48 matches in ~6 months (just under two per week), with at bare minimum 16 more to play if they don't progress in CL or FA Cup. In addition to these club competitions, players like Firmino have played up to 15 matches for their country in a calendar year.

Given Liverpool's PL and CL positions, I can't fault Klopp for valuing an already-promised break for his senior squad over an FA Cup replay. Maybe the solution is to buy £60m squad players like City so they can rotate properly.
 
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Dummy Hoy

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Can we please fucking stop with the Liverpool fans crying poor? It’s fucking embarrassing. You have a 650m pound squad for fucks sake.

Edit: fuckity fuck fuck. Fuck.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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I'm not sure whether edit2 reflects you realizing this, but the Football Association absolutely makes the rules. It is the governing body for competitive football in England. The Premier League is just one competition they oversee so there is no rules conflict. The FA determined that there would be a winter break for Premier League clubs but that this break would be three days shorter for any club needing to play a replay in this round of the FA Cup. By refusing to manage his side, Jurgen Klopp is just thumbing his nose at the FA and unilaterally declaring that he's not going to abide by the same rules as everybody else. I know Liverpool fans like to think of him as this uber endearing guy but he is absolutely in the wrong here and it makes him look like a shit. Every manager complains about fixture congestion and scheduling but refusing to manage your club because the FA isn't run the way you want is highly unusual, and not in a good way.
Im confused .. the PL told it’s teams last April about the winter break and not to schedule any games for its duration. The FA, then in turn (in August?) told the PL that , sorry, our competition is more important that your winter break so deal with it? So . the FA being the overall runner of things gets to make that call? Have I got that right?

I know the FA is in charge of a lot of the rules and such .. and administers the EFL .. but I find it hard to fathom they can control how the PL sets up its scheduling ? This is the sort of thing that gives a lot of fuel to the fire of a breakaway super EURO League.

As for Klopp looking bad .. he has been railing about fixture congestion for years. I’m not surprised he’s done this .. to do otherwise makes him a hypocrite. As I understand it John Henry is fully on-board with the decision as well.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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All of that has always been true for basically any big club in England that goes deep into one of the European competitions.

There’s nothing unusual about the situation Liverpool faces. What’s unusual is how Klopp is handling the situation.
 

Dummy Hoy

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And you know what? Klopp isn’t wrong to want to protect his players- all of the elite players are essentially abused by the football federations for our entertainment. I get that. But he’s dismissive of the whole competition and pouty about how unfair it is to his squad, when other teams have to deal with it too. If he just said hey- i told the boys they’d get time off, it’s unfortunate how this worked out, we’ll field our best youngsters and give it our all, WHILE BEING THERE HIMSELF AS IT IS HIS JOB, no one would blink.

I understand that if Klopp shat on the center circle at Wembley there would be a rush to proclaim it the greatest turd ever produced, but it’s okay to admit that he’s handling it poorly.

Edit: and lest I be accused of picking on Liverpool, I thought Guardiola’s comments were pretty embarrassing too. There’s a real lack of perspective and consideration of the larger picture out of the top clubs these days.
 
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Mighty Joe Young

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A few points ..

.. perhaps if other PL managers (I’m looking at you Pep and Jose) stood up to this as well things might change.

.. while trying to ignore the absurd notion that league administrators can dictate the lineups for any given game , most of the vitriol seems aimed at Klopp for personally boycotting the game - even if it’s perfectly logical that an U-23 team is managed by an U-23 coach. The only people getting screwed here are the ticket buyers at Anfield. It would be a nice gesture to adjust their ticket prices for the game for sure. Shrewsbury fans just want to win the game .. Liverpool fans ? I don’t think they are particularly upset.

.. all big clubs have to find a balance between winning the game and resting their stars. There’s also the little matter of playing on bad pitches. ManU played their A team against Tranmere on what would charitably be called a mud puddle. It was a complete joke.

.. the FA are being Incredibly hypocritical claiming they want big clubs to play their best players. Not much of a spectacle watching Liverpool or Chelsea or City destroy some League 2 club 13-0 . The “magic’ of the FA cup is solely due to upsets - caused by big clubs NOT playing their stars .. or simply not caring.

.. what I would do if I were made King ..

- get rid of the League Cup

- eliminate replays in the FA cup .. all games against minnows are in their home park .. with extra time plus penalties. This would also increase the likelihood of upsets .. shootouts are more or less 50/50 propositions.

- greatly increase profit sharing from TV rights down the pyramid .. this will help fix the playing conditions issue.
 

Domer

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Im confused .. the PL told it’s teams last April about the winter break and not to schedule any games for its duration. The FA, then in turn (in August?) told the PL that , sorry, our competition is more important that your winter break so deal with it? So . the FA being the overall runner of things gets to make that call? Have I got that right?

I know the FA is in charge of a lot of the rules and such .. and administers the EFL .. but I find it hard to fathom they can control how the PL sets up its scheduling ? This is the sort of thing that gives a lot of fuel to the fire of a breakaway super EURO League.

As for Klopp looking bad .. he has been railing about fixture congestion for years. I’m not surprised he’s done this .. to do otherwise makes him a hypocrite. As I understand it John Henry is fully on-board with the decision as well.
The F.A. were the ones who accommodated the bye week request by not only moving the fifth round to a midweek date, but also eliminating replays on that round, in order to free up a an additional matchweek for the Premier League, so they could spread 10 fixtures across two weekends.
 

swiftaw

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There’s a small group, including Liverpool, that now see themselves as global super clubs, and they brush aside the romantic nostalgia of historic cup competitions. For the biggest clubs, the FA Cup is at best an emergency back door to European competition or the lesser jewel in a treble. This attitude will only become more common as super-wealthy owners move into the EPL (eg, Saudi sovereign wealth fund) and further de-prioritize cup competitions.
But it's not just the elite clubs though. The lower premier league teams also put out second string sides because they realize their primary concern is to stay in the premier league.
 

swiftaw

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The wild and crazy idea I had for the FA cup was to do it like the NCAA tournament. Use consecutive weekends in January for the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th rounds while the PL takes a break. Replays would be midweek the same week unless both teams in the match agreed beforehand to not have a replay if tied.
 

fletcherpost

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The wild and crazy idea I had for the FA cup was to do it like the NCAA tournament. Use consecutive weekends in January for the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th rounds while the PL takes a break. Replays would be midweek the same week unless both teams in the match agreed beforehand to not have a replay if tied.


I think it's replays for all or for none. I reckon all the small teams playing at home would love a replay at a big club - Shrewsbury are going to make a small fortune for the replay at Anfield. For clubs that size it's huge. The first part of your idea isn't terrible though, but maybe not four rounds in four weeks. I'm just thinking about TV audiences, cos I know i get antsy during international breaks and those are much shorter than the four weeks you suggest.

Regardless all the pundits love to say they love the cup, but the big clubs don't until they get to the semi finals. Something has to give.

And yeah, ditch the League Cup.
 

SoxFanInCali

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38 league games, 13 Champions League games each of the last 2 seasons, and CL plus all the extra competitions this year, you have to rest the starters at some point.

Klopp has gotten crap for going out early in the domestic cups the last few years, with people blaming him for losing with weaker sides. The team has also been pretty unlucky with draws, though. In 8 of the 10 domestic cup draws the last 3 seasons, Liverpool have drawn a Premier League team (including 5 out of 6 in the first round they play in), so there hasn't been much margin for error when trying to play the kids/reserves for a couple games. Not using it as an excuse, more as an explanation of the results.

The bizarre thing is that Liverpool might have been better off against Shrewsbury if they'd gone with more kids. It's nice to be able to use a game like that to work a player coming off an injury back in, but in this case it was the first serious game action in a while for both central defenders (Lovren and Matip) and the defensive midfielder (Fabinho). Unfortunately, they all came out rusty.
 
And yeah, ditch the League Cup.
There are 92 clubs within the Football League pyramid, and the League Cup looks much more valuable - figuratively and literally - to many of them than it does to the Big Six. Before we just eliminate it, I'd rather change the League Cup so that no club in the group stage of the Champions League or Europa League is allowed to enter it. Or alternatively, those clubs can enter it but have to field age-restricted teams - e.g., use the Olympic rules in which no more than three players in their matchday squad can be over the age of 23 (which is basically what the League Cup looks like now anyway for most of the bigger clubs, at least until the semifinals). If this change were marketed correctly, as a way to unclog the fixture lists of the bigger clubs *and* take responsibility from managers like Klopp (who can now say their hands are tied instead of having to look like the bad guy) *and* nurture younger talent at the bigger clubs *and* give lesser clubs a greater chance of winning a "major" trophy, it might just be received positively by enough people to potentially work.

Similar changes could be implemented for the FA Cup, of course. I can see the merit in stipulating that any FA Cup tie involving a club still in Europe must be completed in a single day - with extra time and penalties, but no replays. And/or perhaps for any club still in Europe at the moment a Cup tie is scheduled, the number of players you can have over the age of 23 in your matchday squad is equal to the round of the tie (Premier League clubs join the FA Cup in the 3rd round), a restriction that disappears the moment a club is eliminated from Europe.
 

fletcherpost

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There are 92 clubs within the Football League pyramid, and the League Cup looks much more valuable - figuratively and literally - to many of them than it does to the Big Six. Before we just eliminate it, I'd rather change the League Cup so that no club in the group stage of the Champions League or Europa League is allowed to enter it. Or alternatively, those clubs can enter it but have to field age-restricted teams - e.g., use the Olympic rules in which no more than three players in their matchday squad can be over the age of 23 (which is basically what the League Cup looks like now anyway for most of the bigger clubs, at least until the semifinals). If this change were marketed correctly, as a way to unclog the fixture lists of the bigger clubs *and* take responsibility from managers like Klopp (who can now say their hands are tied instead of having to look like the bad guy) *and* nurture younger talent at the bigger clubs *and* give lesser clubs a greater chance of winning a "major" trophy, it might just be received positively by enough people to potentially work.

Similar changes could be implemented for the FA Cup, of course. I can see the merit in stipulating that any FA Cup tie involving a club still in Europe must be completed in a single day - with extra time and penalties, but no replays. And/or perhaps for any club still in Europe at the moment a Cup tie is scheduled, the number of players you can have over the age of 23 in your matchday squad is equal to the round of the tie (Premier League clubs join the FA Cup in the 3rd round), a restriction that disappears the moment a club is eliminated from Europe.
I take your point about the 92 clubs. What if you just made it an expanded Johnstone's Paint Trophy (surely the greatest cup name of them all) - let the Championship teams in and give the winner a Europa League berth. (And if the EPL teams want to enter they have to wear onesies.)

BUt then again, I think if the League Cup winners are still to get a Europa League berth you have to have full entry. It's not a bad idea to age restrict in a vacuum, but it's not a vacuum, and to impose different rules and restrictions on different teams feels unethical and i doubt it would ever fly. But, at the end of the day, if they're going to preserve the health and stature of the two cup competitions it's going to take something out of the box...nowt wrong with a touch of the eccentric when we're brain storming. (I'm brainstorming.)
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Im confused .. the PL told it’s teams last April about the winter break and not to schedule any games for its duration. The FA, then in turn (in August?) told the PL that , sorry, our competition is more important that your winter break so deal with it? So . the FA being the overall runner of things gets to make that call? Have I got that right?

I know the FA is in charge of a lot of the rules and such .. and administers the EFL .. but I find it hard to fathom they can control how the PL sets up its scheduling ? This is the sort of thing that gives a lot of fuel to the fire of a breakaway super EURO League.
The FA and Premier League (as well as other football authorities like UEFA and FIFA) always coordinate in scheduling competitions. That is just the nature of the setup. When the Premier League announced that all clubs would have a two week break between fixtures in February, it always obvious that an FA Cup match might end up getting scheduled in there. And the FA Cup announced the round dates last May with the 4th round scheduled for January 25 so it was confirmed very quickly that a replay would likely fall in the rolling two week window that runs from 2/2 to 2/23.

This was all obvious to anybody paying attention who knows anything about the system and the scheduling, which I'm sure is the case for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp.

As for Klopp looking bad .. he has been railing about fixture congestion for years. I’m not surprised he’s done this .. to do otherwise makes him a hypocrite. As I understand it John Henry is fully on-board with the decision as well.
Every top manager in England has complained about fixture congestion - Ferguson, Wenger, Mourinho, Guardiola, etc - because there are too many fixtures and too many competitions, as everybody knows and has known for a long time. But none of them petulantly refused to manage their own squad - ie, to do their job like everybody else - because they were upset at having to play a replay.

Klopp may be a great manager and overall a likeable figure in football but he is dead wrong on this and acting like a dick.
 

Cellar-Door

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I'm not sure whether edit2 reflects you realizing this, but the Football Association absolutely makes the rules. It is the governing body for competitive football in England. The Premier League is just one competition they oversee so there is no rules conflict. The FA determined that there would be a winter break for Premier League clubs but that this break would be three days shorter for any club needing to play a replay in this round of the FA Cup. By refusing to manage his side, Jurgen Klopp is just thumbing his nose at the FA and unilaterally declaring that he's not going to abide by the same rules as everybody else. I know Liverpool fans like to think of him as this uber endearing guy but he is absolutely in the wrong here and it makes him look like a shit. Every manager complains about fixture congestion and scheduling but refusing to manage your club because the FA isn't run the way you want is highly unusual, and not in a good way.
I agree on this. All he's doing is making it more likely that the FA does something about it going forward... such as adding a rule requiring a certain number of 1st team players in any FA Cup match.
 

thehitcat

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The only people getting screwed here are the ticket buyers at Anfield. It would be a nice gesture to adjust their ticket prices for the game for sure. Shrewsbury fans just want to win the game .. Liverpool fans ? I don’t think they are particularly upset.
This was the right thing to do and Liverpool have done it after consulting with Shrewsbury as it will affect how much half of the gate is...
Liverpool lowers Ticket Prices for Shrewsbury Replay
 

SoxFanInCali

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Local boy Curtis Jones, at 19 years and 5 days old, becomes Liverpool's youngest ever captain.

Can a Premier League side's U20 squad beat a League One team? We are about to find out.

Liverpool's shirt numbers range from 46 to 93.

Anfield is sold out for the kids. Great to see.
 

SoxFanInCali

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Shrewsbury Town put the ball in the net on basically their first real chance, but now they get their first taste of VAR. Offside in the buildup.
 

SoxFanInCali

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Wow....what a scene at Anfield. How great is it for the kids that the whole building is singing like that for them!
Nice moment for them, since it's mostly the same team that got hammered by Villa in the League Cup while the first team was at the Club World Cup.
 

scott bankheadcase

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Not that Shrewsbury deserved it, but you gotta feel a little bad for having VAR call off a goal for an offside that was way back in the runup and then conceded a bad own goal to go out.
 

67YAZ

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Oxford United come back from 2-0 in the 84th minute to force extra time.
 

SoxFanInCali

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Not that Shrewsbury deserved it, but you gotta feel a little bad for having VAR call off a goal for an offside that was way back in the runup and then conceded a bad own goal to go out.
Yeah, it was like 3 or 4 passes back. I didn't even notice it at first, was just a pass to a guy coming back from an offside position and he didn't quite get back in time. But that really was their only chance of the game. Shots were 12-3 Liverpool, SOG were 4-0.

Have to feel a little bad for RoShawn Williams for the comical OG, but it is kinda funny that he's a Manchester United Academy graduate.
 
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67YAZ

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Saint-Maximin nets one in the 116th minute to dash Oxford's dreams.
 

thehitcat

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My Royals coming back from 2-nil and then 3-2 in ET down to win on penalties at Cardiff City! This team has gotten fun over the last 2+ months with a nice unbeaten run of 9 games from Dec 11- Jan 14. We're not going up but if we can build the foundation we might be able to back in with a punchers chance next season against Wednesday and Leeds if they don't figure out the jump this year.

With the replay we've now played Cardiff City 3 times in the past 11 days with the score across the three at 5-5 (4-1 on Pens) :) I am glad to be done with them for the season.

Best news is @Dummy Hoy is rooting for us like crazy on March 5th.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Good days of matches for Semi Finals today and tomorrow.

Man City vs Arsenal at 2:45 ET today
ManU vs Chelsea at 1 ET tomorrow

Arsenal the clear biggest underdog with the current form from all the teams, but having beat Liverpool on Wednesday we do know anything can happen.

The final will be on August 1st.
 

Zomp

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United and Chelsea is interesting because I’m sure both teams would prioritize getting out of the game healthy for their last two league games over a win. United have looked gassed the past two games and I’d love to see a team of reserve players mixed with some youth. Chelsea are in the same predicament playing Liverpool next in a game where they must get something from it.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Aubamayeng scores to give Arsenal a 1-0 lead over City. If Arsenal could somehow win the whole thing under Arteta and gain a spot in the Europa league after this mess of a season, it would change their entire trajectory.
 

swiftaw

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Aubamayeng scores to give Arsenal a 1-0 lead over City. If Arsenal could somehow win the whole thing under Arteta and gain a spot in the Europa league after this mess of a season, it would change their entire trajectory.
Especially if Spurs finish 7th and Arsenal winning the FA Cup steals their Europa spot.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Such a weird flow to this. Arsenal either give it away in front of goal or beat the press for a counter.
 

Kliq

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I’ve needed Liverpool and Man City to beat Arsenal these last two weeks and they have played like dog shit both weeks.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Wildly entertaining game for the neutrals here. Arsenal probably should lead by more than 1 goal.
If City come back some of Ederson’s play in the first half will look huge in hindsight.

Feels like it could be 3-0 but it also feels like City should have punished Arsenal more for some shaky play inside their own box.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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The area where City should have the advantage here is their bench. Not sure who I'd want to see come on off the Arsenal bench other than maybe Saka and Torreira.
 

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Arsenal needs some small run of play here. This second half is shaping up like a 45 minute power play for City. Unless they are going to luck into a counter for a cheap second goal, it feels like City wears them out.

Sterling with the requisite dive....not awarded correctly.
 

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Aubameyang is such a cold-blooded assassin. He screws up high-percentage chances less often than just about any striker I can think of.

Quite the performance from Arsenal tonight. MikeFord's withering criticism of his team might be limited to only a few paragraphs.