Ben Walks On

BEN Purrington has had an ‘unbelievable’ experience against Liverpool – and it is not over yet.

With a visit from Liverpool looming, Ben’s experience of stepping out onto the Anfield turf have him ready for the return match at Home Park on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old left-back played a full 90 minutes in the Pilgrims’ 0-0 Emirates FA Cup game against Liverpool on January 8. It was a historic result for the greens, and one that will last long in the memory for Purrington.

“It was an unbelievable experience to see 55,000 there,” said Ben. “It was nerve racking at the start with everyone singing You’ll Never Walk Alone. It was a bit surreal at first (playing the likes of Daniel Sturridge), you obviously see them on TV and video games all the time.

“We grew into the game. We stuck to our game plan and topped it off getting the result.”

Purrington has featured regularly in Derek Adams’ team this campaign, making 26 appearances, 23 of those being starts. Discussing the quality of a Premier League team, Ben explained that it is a different style of game you have to play.

“Physically the game wasn’t too tough; it was more mental,” he said. “If you switch off at that level you get punished straight away, so you come off the pitch with a bit of a headache.

“We went up there and got a result; you’re never going into a game thinking you’re going to lose. You’ve got to try and stay positive.”

Connor Smith was injured in Argyle’s 4-2 win against Stevenage on Saturday, which means a vacancy in centre midfield has arisen. Adams has several options available to him in how he can shuffle his deck, including playing Ben in the midfield. 

“If I’m asked to play there,” said Ben. “Last season I played there a bit. I’d say I’m more of a left-back but if asked to do a job there, I could.”

Discussing whether he thinks Liverpool will be affected by a culture shock coming to a lower league club, Ben noted Liverpool’s Devon trip at a similar stage last season. 

He hopes, though, that the Reds know they are in for a game. Argyle are not intending to simply make up the numbers when Jurgen Klopp’s side head to Home Park. 

“They’ve been down to Exeter in recent years,” said Ben. “It’s not as if they’re going to somewhere with little changing rooms, we’ve got a nice ground here, and a nice pitch.

“We went there for a result, to either get the win or the replay. I think playing here, with the crowd behind us, we believe in ourselves and we can go out and try and get a result.”