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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.


As one of the 5700 I can guarantee that I won't feel at all disappointed if Suarez doesn't play!

I think the whole season for Latics is summed up in the first nine words of the above report !!!

These Father n Son connections ! Matteo Lanzoni signs for Yeovil ! Hope the game at Anfield goes our way rather than Dads ...

If only the 5700 were at every home game?

Woohoo.....Thou Dumber....I bet you feel so clever with that comment!!!
How about "constructive" criticism? Nope, because I feel confident enough to say you aren't a Latics fan, merely another armchair supporter with a radio/tv.

We beat Liverpool last year because of our physicality, bloody mindedness and a lenient referee.As much as I admire Lee's principles in playing proper football I fear our rather second rate tippy tippy style this year against quality will not go severely unpunished.

mikejh45 : Just to let you know that my earliest memory of being at Boundary Park was when Latics drew 2-2 at home to West Ham in the 3rd round of the 1964 FA Cup - so, hardly just an armchair supporter.

As for constructive criticism - I have often written on here that Johnson needs to start focusing on his and his team's lack of ability instead of just trying to blame bad luck and referees' decisions as excuses.

Thou Dumber,you may well have been to your first match in 1964. So what....you don't say if you go now or you like the comfort of an armchair on matchdays. I regularly do a 350 mile round trip to watch home matches and the quality of football in general is better now than at anytime during the last 20 years. Yes, there are areas that need improvement but I would rather him keep the criticism of his team behind closed doors and blame the ref in the same Fergie looked after his team.

Kenilworth John.....the difference last year was Matty Smith and he is a rarity as for tippy-tappy football....Liverpool 2 Latics 0 and a performance that Latics can hold their head up.....I bet the whole wages of Latics starting 11 didn't come up to Toure's wage on his own so well done Lee Johnson and the team.


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