Lee in dark as Liverpool boss considers options
Reporter: Matthew Chambers
Date online: 03 January 2014
ATHLETIC manager Lee Johnson admits he hasn’t a clue if his defenders will have to deal with the unique talents of Luis Suarez in the FA Cup third-round tie on Sunday.
Liverpool’s top scorer has been in magnificent form this season, hitting 20 goals in 15 league games.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers - a regular visitor to Athletic games this season - could opt to rest the Uruguayan, denying 5,700 visiting Latics supporters the chance to see him in action live.
If Suarez doesn’t play, Athletic will still have to deal with the likes of England captain Steven Gerrard.
“It is a major competition and I have no doubt at all Liverpool will believe they are in with a good chance of winning it this season,” Johnson said.
“Perhaps there is a school of thought that they may not want to risk someone like Luis Suarez getting injured. To be honest, I haven’t a clue. Last season they played a very strong team at Boundary Park, so no doubt it will be a similar case on Sunday.”
Gerrard came off the bench in Athletic’s brilliant 3-2 fourth-round win over Liverpool at Boundary Park last season, a result which provides some hope for the underdogs.
Johnson added: “It will be a great day. We have earned this chance by getting through four very tough games in the FA Cup this season. In a sense, getting to face Liverpool is mission accomplished.
“But stranger things have happened in this competition and we go there with a purpose. I can’t wait for it.”
Danny Philliskirk is in line to return to the starting line-up, and with a medical all-clear, James Wesolowski can play wearing a protective mask.
Cliff Byrne is ineligible and Charlie MacDonald still unfit.
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