Liverpool Away - Wednesday 22:00 @ Brazenhead in Fourways, Leaping Frog Centre

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Back to the Premier League and we play our first away game of 2016 which will be against Liverpool. This is the first ‘return’ round where every team has previously met their opposition this season already. Liverpool was the game where Ramsey scored earlier this season but the linesman, sorry I mean the referee’s assistant, incorrectly ruled it offside. Had he made the right call, we would be 4 points clear at the top of the league. As it is, we are only 2 points clear. As much as we may complain that we have injury problems, Liverpool seem to have it worse at the moment, with a number of their first team out. I had a bit of a giggle when I googled ‘Liverpool Injury News’ and saw the headline “Klopp reports good news on injuries ahead of Arsenal clash”. The reason for the giggle is that the good news turned out to be that Liverpool will have two senior centre-backs available, being Toure and Sakho. Now, not tempting fate, but I believe this to be better news for Arsenal than Liverpool. The article went on to say that Klopp confirmed ‘.....positive developments on the fitness of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Jordon Ibe, although Dejan Lovren remains sidelined due to a hamstring problem’. So, although he does not exactly say they are 100%, it seems likely that he will have their services for some portion of the game. Looking at the Liverpool likely XI, I don’t think there is one player that would have made the Arsenal team that faced Sunderland on Saturday, let alone the team we are likely to put out on Wednesday. All in all, this is a very good opportunity for us to come away with three points and hopefully we have matured enough not to take any game for granted and we apply ourselves as need be to ensure the full points haul.

The match referee is Mike Jones. He has only ref’ed one of our matches this season, being the away match against Watford where we won 3 – 0. Based on this fact, I suppose we quite like him. A similar result to that Watford game would be highly appreciated Mr Jones!

As for our opposition in the League, we have second playing fourth again, that being Leicester and Spurs in a replay of the recent FA Cup third round encounter which ended in a 2-2 draw (shame, do they have to congest their fixture list with a replay? Looks as though that will take place on Tuesday 19th January). Then Man City take on Everton which really should not be too much of a problem. For all Lukaku’s goal scoring feats this season, Everton have only won three of their last 13 matches, and they happen to have been against the three clubs currently filling the bottom three places of the league! I suppose for the fun of it, we can include Man Utd in this report. They have won their last two matches, a thrilling 1-0 victory over Sheffield Utd in the FA Cup and a 2-1 victory against Swansea (who happened to get knocked out of the FA Cup by League Two high fliers Oxford Utd). Anyhow, they are up against Newcastle at St James’ Park and I can see a win for the Geordies in this encounter.

As I write this email, we are 7 minutes away from the FA Cup fourth round draw. Will we stay in London? Will we draw a premier league team? An Eastleigh or Oxford Utd would be a refreshing change. It’s been a long time since we drew a team from outside the premier league and championship – can you remember? OK, so back to the draw and we are ball no 10 in the draw. Ian Wright is going to draw the away teams. 22 – Eastliegh (or Bolton) against Leeds Utd – drat, missed them. OK Arsenal, AT HOME!! Against Burnley – a championship side. I’ll take that. London once again, what a run.

Some juicy draws: Derby vs MFU, Exeter/Liverpool vs West Ham, Wycombe/Aston Villa vs Citeh, Palace vs Stoke. Spurs/Leicester and Chelsea have easy draws…

It’s a late 10pm Wednesday kick off which may test a number of our stalwart supporters, however it’s not often we see ourselves being favourites at Anfield, so why not take advantage of this situation. The Brazenhead is waiting for you, so why don’t y’all c’mon down and have yourselves some fun?

Last team we drew that was in a league lower than the championship was Coventry, who were 4th in League One. This was in the fourth round in 2014.