LONDON, February 8 – With a convalescing manager, mounting injuries and fans in revolt against the club’s hierarchy, Liverpool’s preparations for Tuesday’s FA Cup replay at West Ham United have been less than ideal.
A bout of appendicitis caused manager Jurgen Klopp to miss Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Sunderland, which saw some 10,000 supporters walk out in protest at rising ticket prices.
Dejan Lovren and Joe Allen joined the ranks of Liverpool walking wounded during the game, but the biggest frustration for goalscorer Adam Lallana was the home side’s failure to hold onto a 2-0 lead.
“It’s disappointing in any game, regardless of who you’re playing, to be 2-0 up with 10 minutes to go (and not win),” the midfielder told the Liverpool website.
“We’ve only got ourselves to blame. We probably dropped a bit too deep as a team and didn’t continue doing what we were doing in the second half to get the goals.
“We certainly didn’t want to be complacent or didn’t think we’d won the game, but these things happen and we need to take full responsibility for that.”
He added: “We’ve got another game on Tuesday, which is the best thing as a player, to get back on the pitch as soon as possible and put things right.
“Our league form has not been great so we need to make sure that Tuesday we stay in (the FA Cup).”
Klopp underwent an operation to have his appendix removed on Saturday and it is not clear whether he will be able to travel to east London for the fourth-round replay.
– ‘Learn from our mistakes’ –
Centre-back Lovren and midfielder Allen are both unlikely to feature, having been withdrawn before half-time at Anfield on Saturday, but striker Daniel Sturridge is in line to make a rare start after returning to the bench following a hamstring problem.
In any case, Klopp is expected to shuffle his starting XI, having used his side’s FA Cup matches — including the 0-0 draw with West Ham on January 30 — as an opportunity to blood younger members of his squad.
The depth of his resources will be tested to the limit this month, with Liverpool also due to face German side Augsburg in the Europa League last 32 and tackle Manchester City in the League Cup final.
Liverpool, who won the last of their seven FA Cups in 2006, are already feeling the pace in the league, having fallen 12 points off the Champions League berths following the draw with Sunderland.
West Ham are four points better off in sixth place, but Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Southampton left Slaven Bilic’s side with just one win from their last five games in all competitions.
West Ham fell behind to a Maya Yoshida goal in the ninth minute, but played against 10 men for over half an hour following Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama’s dismissal for fouling Dimitri Payet.
“It was a great opportunity for us. It’s a game we didn’t deserve to lose,” said Bilic.
“Now we have to lift ourselves up, learn from our mistakes and beat Liverpool.”
Wednesday’s replay sees West Bromwich Albion visit third-tier Peterborough United, who snatched a 2-2 draw in the teams’ first meeting at The Hawthorns a week ago.
Fixtures (1945 GMT)
West Ham United v Liverpool
Peterborough United v West Bromwich Albion