Liverpool’s victory over Manchester United at the weekend has been rewarded with an away quarter final tie against Birmingham City. Today’s draw only featured Premiership clubs, but Birmingham have been something of a bogey team for Liverpool since Rafael Benitez took over.
Last season the Midlands side, who include ex-Red Emile Heskey amongst their squad, did the double over Liverpool. Liverpool have improved this season, but have only managed two draws against the team from St Andrews.
Manager Rafa is hoping that Birmingham will be more concerned over their league position than in continuing in the FA Cup, saying: “At this stage, with all Premiership clubs you’ve got to play good teams. Maybe Birmingham will be more concerned about their league position and this might not be as important to them as staying in the division.”
Rafa said the only thing he’d really change about the draw if he could was the location, he’d rather be at home. He does feel that his players are able to cope with the number of games they have in front of them: “I feel I’ve got a big enough squad to cope with playing in three competitions and all I can say is that I’d have rather been drawn at home.”
Liverpool started this season earlier than ever, way back in mid-July,
and with the World Cup looming some Liverpool players could find
themselves having taken part in a season that lasted a whole year. In
fact the slightly earlier finish to the domestic season has meant that
these quarter finals will not be getting played on a weekend. The
unusual decision has been taken to play one game each night, starting
Monday March 20th and ending on Thurday March 23rd.
Liverpool met Birmingham in the third round of the competition back in
2002, two goals from Michael Owen and one from Nicolas Anelka getting
them through the next round with a 3-0 win.
FA Cup quarter-final draw in full:-
Charlton Athletic v Middlesbrough.
Aston Villa or Manchester City v Bolton Wanderers or West Ham United.
Chelsea v Newcastle United.
Birmingham City v Liverpool.