Fringe Benefits

ARGYLE midfielder David Fox believes that the Liverpool players that he and his colleagues will face this weekend will feel the occasion as much as the Pilgrims.

Like most observers, David expects Reds manager Jurgen Klopp to field a side largely bereft of Anfield’s major stars when the two teams face up in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.

That, though, will not mean that Argyle’s Mission:Impossible has become any less easy.

David said: “Obviously, he’s going to play some of the fringe players, some of the younger players. They have got Manchester United coming up soon – I’m sure the manager has got other priorities. 

“Saying that, the younger players and the fringe players will be top quality and they’ll be bit like us in terms of playing at Anfield. I am sure they will be looking forward to it just like we are.

“They will be feeling it just as much as us because they will be wanting to make an impression on their manager. They will be top-class players; they will be players who will think [Klopp] is a manager who give players a chance and, if they do well, it could lead on to other things.”

With a manager to impress who favours pressing, David does not think that Argyle will be afforded any room in which to express themselves.

He said: “The way Liverpool play, they don’t give anyone any time; they are full-on pressing you; they work their socks off, they defend from the front. Liverpool are one of the top teams in terms of harassing and ratting, so we have got to make sure we are not caught on the ball in dangerous areas.”

Foxy, who has been both a giantkiller and a giant slain during his FA Cup career, accepts that the atmosphere at one of the world’s major sporting venues may jangle the Pilgrims’ nerves. Or it may not.

“You have got that,” he said, “but it can work the other way and you can produce things you didn’t think you were capable of and run further than you thought you can. It can go both ways.”

Whatever happens between 1.30-3.15pm on Sunday, the game remains a sideshow to this season’s main event of trying to win promotion from Sky Bet League Two.

David said: “In the early rounds of the cup, everyone is in it to try to get to the third round. It doesn’t matter what you are trying to do in the league – you try to get into that third round and get a big team. 

“That’s what we’ve been fortunate to do and, whatever the result, we’ll give our best and take a lot of positives into the remaining 20-odd games in the league. Ultimately, that’s our aim this season, but this weekend is a really good distraction for us.

“We are doing alright in the league at the minute, so we will go up there and give it everything we’ve got.”

Not many expect that everything to be enough, but this is the FA Cup, and...

Foxy said: “There are plenty of cases out there of teams that have gone to big clubs and got results, and we will be looking to add to that. It’ll be a case of trying to frustrate; trying to stay in the game as long as you can – that’s important.

“And you need a lot of luck.”