It's a big match tonight. Or is it? Regular readers will know that my views are that football is all about silverware, but you will also know that I've not had much of a desire when it comes to the two cups in recent years.
That has mostly centered on us needing to get out of the Championship or focus on the League. But at the exact same time there is a part of me that thinks you can win the League with 16 players if none get injured and that playing 90 minutes of football twice a week shouldn't be that hard.
Essentially my view on this is not solid. It changes like the wind. It's like an 80's song and the video will be below. It's a little flakey. But I think it's flakey because it's so hard and it is supposed to change.
This season for me was all about doing better than last season. I like to get better. I want silverware, for sure. Football is all about winning silverware, but this season, if we finish one place higher than last season, that is good enough for me. If we finish one place higher every season, that is success. That will also produce silverware.
But we're doing much better than I expected or hoped for. And this season, I think we could win the FA Cup. I know that's bold but on our day we can beat anyone, so why not allow me to believe that this is something we can win. I don't think we can win the League, but on our day, I think we could beat anyone.
However, this isn't me saying we're going to win tonight. With the news that there is a "significant" Covid-19 outbreak at the club, this is going to be one of those nights that either turn out as expected or end as one of those stories we tell our grandchildren about. We just wont begin by saying "I was there when".
So I guess what I'm really saying is that I was looking forward to this match and the FA Cup because of what has happened this season and how far we have come, but I don't expect us to progress. Expect is the key word here. I'm not saying I don't want us to and I'm certainly not saying that we can't. And you know what, Jürgen Klopp might even use this opportunity to rest a few players and that could be good for us.
In fact, he should. I'd be surprised if he didn't. In hindsight and as a gesture, last season we should have maybe played more younger players to make it a fairer competition for Liverpool. But as I write that, they decided to take the other tournament more serious and it was the right decision for them. We've not decided to take anything more serious, so maybe Mr Klopp decides to make this fairer for us, considering the circumstances.
He wont and he shouldn't. But he will rest players. And yes, this is the optimistic Damian writing this, but maybe that is reason to be hopeful. I'm looking forward to the match and whatever happens, it will be a great night. It is Friday after all and it's football.
And, happy new year!
Match stats from the BBC
- Aston Villa have lost six of their last seven FA Cup games against Liverpool, though they did win the last such meeting between the sides in the 2015 semi-final at Wembley (2-1).
- On each of the last three occasions Liverpool have eliminated Aston Villa from the FA Cup they've gone on to reach the final (1987-88, 1991-92 and 1995-96).
- Since beating Liverpool in the 2014-15 semi-final, Aston Villa have lost their last three FA Cup games against Premier League sides by an aggregate score of 0-10.
- Liverpool have been eliminated from four of their last six FA Cup ties against fellow Premier League sides, with the two exceptions in that run both coming in third round matches against Everton (2-1 in 2017-18, 1-0 in 2019-20).