It was a heroic performance from Liverpool against a strong West Ham team in the FA Cup 4th Round Replay, but it all ended in heartbreak when Angelo Ogbonna’s last-gasp header won it for the Hammers in the last minute of Extra-Time.
Coutinho levelled just after half-time after Michail Antonio had volleyed West Ham in front before the interval. It was a classic FA Cup tie that swung from end to end with chances galore, but it wasn’t to be Liverpool’s night with Ogbonna’s late winner preventing another penalty shoot-out for the Reds.
Jurgen Klopp made 10 changes from the team that threw away a 2-0 lead against Sunderland at the weekend, selecting the likes of Pedro Chirivella, Tiago Ilori, Brad Smith, Kevin Stewart and Joao Carlos Teixeira.
The youngsters didn’t let their boss down. In fact, they were the better team on the night against a strong West Ham team.
But with Liverpool a distant 12 points off fourth place in the Premier League, cup competitions seem the best chance for success this season and I was very disappointed to see Klopp make so many changes to his regular XI.
It is very encouraging to see Klopp give so many youngsters an opportunity to impress, but he should give them the chance in the remaining league fixtures and select his strongest side for the cups instead. I can’t help but think if the likes of Jordan Henderson, Clyne, Sakho and Firmino were playing we could have won.
It will disappoint me even more if we don’t see more of Ilori, Stewart, Teixeira and co. in future games this term after impressing so much in such an important game.
I hope Klopp’s sacrifice in the FA Cup is worth long-term, with the experience the youngsters received against West Ham helping them progress into regular first-team.
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