Liverpool target FA Cup glory in bid to salvage season
Back-to-back league defeats by Manchester United and Arsenal have slowed Liverpool’s pursuit of a top-four finish
With Premier League results on the slide and Champions League qualification hanging in the balance, Liverpool’s season seemingly rests on FA Cup glory, starting with a quarter-final replay against Championship side Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday.
Back-to-back league defeats by Manchester United and Arsenal have slowed Liverpool’s pursuit of a top-four finish and Champions League qualification as they trail fourth-placed Manchester City by seven points with seven games remaining.
After a 0-0 draw against second-tier Blackburn in the first game at Anfield, Liverpool, who have not won the FA Cup since 2006, travel to Ewood Park in the hope of setting up a semi-final clash with Aston Villa at Wembley.
“Winning the cup would save our season,” midfielder Philippe Coutinho told the club's website (www.liverpoolfc.com).
“It is very important for us to have that as an objective. We have to pick ourselves up after what happened against Arsenal to get the results that we need.”
Brendan Rodgers has played down reports of dressing-room unrest after Saturday’s 4-1 mauling at Arsenal but the Liverpool boss is aware they must address their lack of goals.
Liverpool scored 101 Premier League goals last season as they finished runners-up but with Luis Suarez joining Barcelona and Daniel Sturridge injured for much of the campaign, they have only managed 45 in 31 league games.
“We are still trying to find solutions at the top end of the field,” Rodgers said. “It’s about finding what suits the players. We have obviously got a number of players out now and when we changed the system it suited them.
“When everyone is fit and available we are able to compete with this squad. Three players on six goals. That’s the reality of where we are at, and we have to find solutions.”
Steven Gerrard, Martin Skrtel and Emre Can will be suspended against a Blackburn side dreaming of adding Liverpool to their list of Premier League scalps after beating Swansea City and Stoke City in previous rounds.
“It’s a chance to get Ewood Park rocking and it should remind us all of the Premiership days,” manager Gary Bowyer said.
“We’ve done particularly well at home to Premiership clubs in the FA Cup and, hopefully, there will be a real buzz around Ewood Park come kickoff time.”