League Two Exeter were denied a memorable FA Cup upset as a barely recognisable Liverpool side came from behind to force a third-round replay.


Reds boss Jurgen Klopp had made 11 changes and his side fell behind early on when Tom Nichols poked in.

Jerome Sinclair equalised with a low finish but the hosts retook the lead when goalkeeper Adam Bogdan conceded direct from a Lee Holmes corner.

With time running out, Brad Smith rescued Liverpool with a neat finish.

The replay at Anfield means Exeter are set for a cash windfall, with Sporting Intelligence estimating it will be worth about £700,000 to the Devon club.

Read about how the game unfolded

Klopp’s gamble almost proves costly

The average age of the Liverpool starting line-up on Friday was 22
Liverpool have been hit hard by injuries this season, with enough first team players on the sidelines to make up an alternative starting XI.

Consequently, Reds boss Klopp made wholesale changes for Friday’s game, with just three players boasting more than four first-team appearances.

Klopp’s entertaining post-match interview
A number of those included in the side had been recalled from loan spells elsewhere, including midfielder Kevin Stewart, whose spell at League One Swindon was ended just a few hours before the Exeter clash.

Stewart, defender Tiago Ilori and winger Ryan Kent were making their first-team debuts for the club, and the team’s lack of any significant time playing together was immediately evident.

They lacked cohesion, with Sinclair’s goal their only effort of note in a first half Exeter edged, and as the game wore on the home side grew in confidence.

Klopp’s gamble looked to have failed until Smith took advantage of a tiring Exeter to spare his manager’s blushes, but the German has previously complained about his side’s busy fixture schedule and the draw has added another game to that.