Weakened Liverpool exit FA Cup; Vital month ahead for Irish rugby

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Ruben Neves scores the winning goal for Wolverhampton Wanderers against Liverpool. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Ruben Neves scores the winning goal for Wolverhampton Wanderers against Liverpool. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Wolves knocked Premier League leaders Liverpool out of the FA Cup last night with a 2-1 third round win at Molineux. Jurgen Klopp’s experimental team included two debutants while 16 year-old Ki-Jana Hoever was brought on after only six minutes because of an injury to Dejan Lovren. Following the match the draw for the fourth round of the competition was made, with Manchester United’s trip to Arsenal being the standout fixture.

In his column this morning Gerry Thornley looks ahead to a vital month coming up for all four provinces before England come calling at the Aviva - a busy few weeks promises an antidote to the post-Christmas blues: “Come the end of the penultimate (Champions Cup) round, conceivably all four provinces could be leading their pools and well set for qualification. Yet none dare look beyond this weekend’s penultimate round, when defeats would seriously imperil their hopes of advancing. And, of course, just three weeks from next Saturday, England come calling for Ireland’s opening defence of the Six Nations at the Aviva Stadium.”

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