Preston North End Vs Liverpool
FA Cup 3rd Round Saturday 3rd January 2009 5:25pm Kick-off
In what is undoubtedly the tie of the round, Rafa Bentiez's Liverpool are the next team to visit Deepdale for this Saturday's FA Cup 3rd Round tie. In a bid to keep their eye on the ball, Alan Irvine and his players refused to distract themselves from the rigours of the Championship and instead let the media and supporters revel in the anticipation surrounding this upcoming fixture.
Preston have enjoyed a good run of form in the Championship recently with just two defeats from their last eleven matches. However, as is with the FA Cup, league form goes right out of the window. Instead Preston will be in hope of edging their way past Premier League pace setters Liverpool.
Previous 3rd Round Form
Midst a poor run of form, last year Preston welcomed the visit of Scunthorpe United to Deepdale in front of a measly 4000 supporters. A Simon Whaley goal two minutes after the restart was enough to separate the two sides and ensured North End progressed to the fourth round.
Liverpool on the other hand were held to a 1-1 draw with Luton Town at Kenilworth Road before emphatically hammering the hatters 5-0 at Anfield in the replay.
The year previous, Preston enjoyed another 1-0 win, this time against Roy Keane's Sunderland. A Brett Ormerod goal after 31 minutes gave North End the win at Deepdale to set them up for a 4th round tie with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
That same season, Liverpool fell at the first hurdle having lost at home to Arsenal. A Tomas Rosicky brace just before half-time set the Gunners up nicely for a 3-1 win with Dirk Kuyt pulling one back for Liverpool before Thierry Henry completed the scoring six minutes from time.
Preston have faced Liverpool twice previous in the FA Cup, the first dating back to 1894 where Liverpool beat Preston 3-2. The second meeting, some seventy years later, resulted in a 1-0 Preston win. That's not strictly true as the first attempt was a 0-0 draw, as was the second. With 210 minutes of football not being able to separate these two teams (two ninety minute games plus thirty minutes of extra time in the second attempt), the game was held on neutral ground, namely Old Trafford, in a bid to find a winner.
Winger Ross Wallace has been given the go ahead by parent club Sunderland to feature in this Saturday's game. With that in mind, Alan Irvine should be able to name his strongest line-up possible, whether that includes former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor remains to be seen. Mellor has been declared fit for the game having recovered from a hip injury just in the nick of time.