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Former Liverpool forward Emile Heskey does not expect the club’s small slump to inspire manager Jurgen Klopp to shift his focus to the FA Cup when his team face Aston Villa in a third-round tie on Friday night.
Liverpool They have failed to win their last three Premier League games, and Monday night’s 1-0 loss at Southampton confirmed they are in the midst of their biggest drop in form in a couple of seasons.
However, Heskey, who played 223 games for Liverpool between 2000 and 2004, believes that Klopp will repeat his policy of playing against teams with less strength in the opening rounds of the FA Cup, even though his team is trying to avenge one. 7-2 loss to Villa. since last October in a game that will be broadcast live BT sport.
“I don’t think he will bring out his first-choice team in Villa because there are still a lot of games to pack this season and he has always played against weakened teams in the FA Cup,” Heskey said. TEAMtalk in an exclusive interview.
“There can be an accumulation of matches, especially if we have a lot of cases and we have to postpone the matches. That will only throw them down the road and we will have a backlog of matches in a few months.
“If I was a coach, I would play my strongest eleven as they are a difficult draw for Liverpool and you want to put yourself in position to win the FA Cup at the end of the season.
“On the other hand, Klopp will look at it and say that the Premier League is his priority as he wants to try to get back-to-back victories in that competition. He’s caught between a rock and a hard place. “
Changing the face of the FA Cup
Heskey believes that the introduction of foreign coaches and players into English football has been a factor that has changed the face of the FA Cup in recent years, as he admits that change started before he won the competition with Liverpool 20 years ago. years.
Michael Owen’s iconic performance when he fired two late goals to give Liverpool a win against Arsenal in the 2001 FA Cup final is fondly remembered by all Reds fans and Heskey admits he yearns for the competition to return. to his golden days.
“The FA Cup was losing its luster in 2001, although it meant a lot to me,” he added. “If you had asked the foreign guys in our Liverpool dressing room then they would all have said the Premier League or the UEFA Cup. The FA Cup wasn’t high on his priority list. Ask the English guys and they all wanted to win the FA Cup.
“We see something similar with managers. I can understand it to a certain extent because they are under pressure to get results in the Premier League and the FA Cup is not going to keep them in the position. Maybe that’s why the FA Cup lost its lead a bit in recent years.
“For me, the FA Cup medal that I have is one of the best memories of my career. It’s up there. And the feeling the day we beat Arsenal was special.
“It would have been great if it had been at Wembley, but having in your hands that trophy that you’ve seen so many of your heroes win was an incredible experience.”
BT Sport will broadcast 16 Emirates FA Cup third round matches live, including Aston Villa v Liverpool live on BT Sport 1 starting at 7pm on Friday, January 8. For more information visit bt.com/sport