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Klopp reiterates call to scrap FA Cup replays ahead of Wolves tie

SoccerNews in English Premier League 6 Jan 2023

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Jurgen Klopp has reiterated his support for scrapping FA Cup replays ahead of holders Liverpool facing Wolves in the third round on Saturday.

Klopp has repeatedly called for FA Cup replays to be abolished in the past, and memorably allowed then-under-23s coach Neil Critchley to take charge of team made up entirely of youth players when Liverpool were taken to a second fixture by Shrewsbury Town in 2020.

FA Cup replays were removed for the 2020-21 season to avoid creating further fixture congestion in a campaign heavily impacted by COVID-19, and a report from The Times said leading figures in the English game discussed doing so permanently on Friday.

Klopp would be in favour of such a move, though acknowledged it would need to be accompanied by support for the smaller clubs that benefit from them financially.

Asked if he would support the removal of replays at Friday’s news conference, Klopp said: “Yeah, as always.

“We have to find other solutions. The lifeline for smaller clubs cannot be problems for the clubs that play every three days.

“There must be other solutions, and how often did it happen that a smaller club came through because of this extra game?

“There’s money involved, I understand that, and nobody wants to kill the smaller clubs, they have the same right to exist as all of us.

“But we cannot solve all the problems by playing more games – that’s not possible and that’s why I would be in favour of that, but I’ve said so many things in the last seven-and-a-half years and not many have happened.”

Meanwhile, with Liverpool having a full week to prepare for their Premier League trip to Brighton and Hove Albion after facing Wolves, Klopp is not planning to make sweeping changes.

Asked how he would approach his team selection for Saturday’s game, Klopp said: “It doesn’t change. The only time it will change is with the amount of games around, so if you play say, Saturday then Tuesday, you have to think about it.

“In our case, we played Monday last time, then Saturday, then Saturday again. So it’s clear we will line up as good, as strong and as experienced as we can. There will not be rotation because of the competition or whatever, no.”

Liverpool ended a 16-year wait to lift the FA Cup last season, beating Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out following a goalless draw at Wembley Stadium – as they did in the EFL Cup final.

However, Wolves have eliminated Liverpool from the competition twice during Klopp’s time in charge, beating them 2-1 as a Championship side at Anfield in 2017 before winning by the same scoreline at Molineux two years later.

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