Liverpool 0-0 Plymouth: League Two side hold on for FA Cup replay
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 08/01/17 10:25pm
League Two Plymouth Argyle held on for a famous goalless draw at Liverpool on Sunday to earn themselves an FA Cup third round replay.
Having named their youngest-ever starting line-up with an average age of 21 years and 296 days, Liverpool dominated the first half at Anfield without creating many clear chances.
Sheyi Ojo missed a close-range header and Ben Woodburn saw an effort saved by Luke McCormick.
But they lost their rhythm after the break and could not find a way through despite the introduction of Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana.
The tie will now be decided in a replay at Home Park in the week of January 16.
In a month where they already face a two-legged EFL Cup semi-final against Southampton and three Premier League matches, another fixture would not have been top of Jurgen Klopp's wishlist.
He made 10 changes from the draw at Sunderland on Monday, with only Emre Can keeping his place in the side.
The last fourth tier side to claim a draw in an FA Cup game away to Liverpool were Doncaster Rovers in January 1974.
Five teenagers started - Joe Gomez, Woodburn, Ojo, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ovie Ejaria - along with goalkeeper Loris Karius and Divock Origi.
And Liverpool's youthful team were allowed to ease into the game as Plymouth - backed by around 8,500 travelling fans - sat deep and didn't put any pressure on the ball.
The home side completely dominated the first half, enjoying 80 per cent of the possession, albeit without any end product.
Ejaria and Kevin Stewart shot wide from outside the box while Ojo miscued a header from close range when he looked set to score.
Plymouth keeper Luke McCormick did not have many saves to make, but did deny Woodburn after he twisted away from his marker.
Origi had the ball in the net, only to be penalised for a foul on Gary Miller.
Plymouth's only opportunity of the first half came in injury-time when they won a free-kick in the corner, but the delivery was headed clear.
By the time the whistle went for half-time, Liverpool midfielder Stewart had completed as many passes as the entire Plymouth team.
The visitors improved after the break as Liverpool lost their way. Jordan Slew had the Pilgrims' first shot of the match, slicing well wide from the left corner of the box, before Graham Carey had their first effort on target, a free-kick curled straight at Karius.
Liverpool continued to threaten but their deliveries into the box were largely poor and they did not test McCormick.
Sturridge was introduced on the hour mark and immediately went close with a shot that went narrowly wide.
Plymouth substitute Craig Tanner also had an opening when he got free on the right side of the area, only to see his effort blocked when he could have passed to a team-mate in space.
Looking to avoid a replay, Klopp threw on Firmino and Lallana, but still there was no breakthrough.
Sturridge went close when he fired past the post and in injury-time Connor Smith diverted a free-kick towards his own goal, but saw McCormick save on the line to earn Plymouth a replay.