It's time to get back to Cup action in England and across Europe. Teams who have survived to reach this stage of their domestic competitions are going to be forced into two matches this week, first in their cups in the midweek slots, then again in domestic action, as the clubs make yet another push towards some silverware. That said, the FA Cup matches ahead are all replays from action a couple weeks back, and that means there's going to be a lot of pressure on for sure, particularly for the top flight teams who ended up failing to put away their foes in the initial leg of the affair.
Plymouth vs. Liverpool, Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET ( FOX Sports 1 )
Jurgen Klopp was put under a lot of fire for his team's lack of offensive creativity against Plymouth at home in the FA Cup. The response for the Reds was poor, to say the least. Liverpool ended up losing 1-0 on the road against Southampton in the first leg of the EFL Cup semifinal before turning around and drawing 1-1 against Manchester United in another match that lacked some spirit on the positive end of the pitch.
Opportunity is knocking here for Plymouth for sure. Liverpool is very likely to use a very young side once again in this match as was the case at Anfield, and if that happens, the League Two side is going to have a shot at advancing. We hate to say that the Reds aren't interested in the FA Cup, but this early in the competition with a shot at locking up silverware in the EFL Cup and with some crowded fixtures against Chelsea and Man U scattered around this docket, one couldn't blame him for this dilemma.
Real Sociedad vs. Barcelona, Thursday, 3:15 p.m. ET ( beIN Sports USA )
We're down to just eight teams in the Copa del Rey, and this is probably the best shot we've seen so far to get one of the big boy teams out of this tournament. Barcelona had to fight back against Athletic Bilbao quite hard in the Round of 16 in this tournament to secure a 4-3 aggregate victory, and now, it's going to have to go out on the road once again for the first leg of this one.
Thus far in the Copa del Rey, Barca has drawn 1-1 against Hercules and lost 2-1 at Athletic Bilbao, and we're talking about a club that is 6-2-1 away from home in La Liga this year.
Can Sociedad take advantage and make home field advantage stick? It had better, because we know that going to Camp Nou will be virtually impossible if the team is behind after these 90 minutes.
Manchester City vs. Tottenham, Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET ( NBC Sports Network )
Tottenham is up to second on the table in the Premier League, and with Chelsea wondering about the status of Diego Costa in the long run, there's a chance to continue to close points on the table toppers. The Spurs have been in good form of late, winning seven matches in a row and punishing teams on both sides of the pitch in that span. The 4-0 win over West Brom last weekend was probably the best of the bunch.
But traveling to the Etihad is never easy. Man City is only three points behind Tottenham and 10 back of Chelsea, and with the Blues perhaps set for a bit of a swoon, opportunity is knocking to get back in the title chase. Pep Guardiola's side is getting healthy, but it's hard to say that it's rounding into form. The club was thrashed by Everton 4-0 at Goodison Park, and anything less than a big run from here will now leave it just hoping to stay in the Top 4.
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