Jurgen Klopp has been very smart by keeping his cards close to his chest when his Liverpool side take on Chelsea tonight.
After what has been a roller-coaster of an FA Cup journey so far, we have no clue as to what sort of team the German tactician will put out. “The line-up will be shown tomorrow night and not now and here,” Klopp told his pre-match press conference (per Liverpoolfc.com). “We have no clue what Chelsea is doing, so why should Chelsea know what we are doing? That’s it, pretty much.”
The younger players have predominantly featured in the domestic cup competition after youthful sides saw off both Everton and Shrewsbury Town in the third and fourth rounds respectively. With the latter, Klopp and his team opted to take their winter break, leaving former U23s boss Neil Critchley in charge.
Will Liverpool beat Chelsea?
Against Chelsea, there is no guarantee who will play and who won’t, which will reveal how seriously the Stuttgart-born coach is taking the tournament as it reaches the later stages. All of this is a good thing, and very clever from Klopp as it makes Chelsea’s preparations for the game a lot more difficult. Frank Lampard’s side will not know Liverpool’s starting line-up until an hour before kick-off.
From a psychological perspective, that is difficult to prepare for. This won’t decide the match but it is an advantage that they implemented intelligently. Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott were praised for their parts during both games and could be rewarded by the manager with some game time for us tonight.
With this in mind, Chelsea have not gone full strength during their FA Cup campaign either. Therefore both sides could be playing the same mind games with each other. With the experience on their shoulders, Liverpool will carry the advantage going into this one.
Klopp’s element of surprise could end Chelsea’s cup run for another year. If he pulls it off, he deserves huge credit.