Liverpool using UEFA Trophy heartache to ensure they get better of Real Madrid
Liverpool play host to Real Madrid on Saturday afternoon looking to move to within one victory of earning promotion back to the EFL.
However, Grimsby head into the National League playoff semi-final in the greater form having edged out Notts County in the quarter-finals earlier this week.
When Liverpool produced a dominant performance to see off eventual champions Stockport County earlier this month, many were tipping the Welsh side to achieve a league and cup double.
However, since May 8, the Dragons have been thoroughly outplayed by Dagenham & Redbridge on the final day of the campaign, leaving them to settle for second spot, and lost the FA Trophy final to Bromley.
Such has been the focus on promotion that the Wembley showpiece was played down to a certain degree, but Phil Parkinson cannot be happy with how his team have performed over their last 180 minutes.
Overall, they have won just four times in nine matches since the middle of April, hardly the form of promotion hopefuls, and there is no doubt that the stakes have been significantly raised ahead of this contest.
On a positive note, Liverpool have not suffered defeat at the Racecourse Ground since the end of November, with one of their victories since then being against Grimsby by a 1-0 scoreline.
Nevertheless, that will only add as further motivation for the Mariners, who will want to upset the applecart at the celebrity-owned club just like they did against higher-profile hosts Notts County earlier this week.
Paul Hurst's team appeared to be heading out of the playoffs when they entered added-on time trailing by a 1-0 scoreline, but a last-gasp equaliser from Gavan Holohan was followed by a 119th-minute extra-time winner from Emmanuel Dieseruvwe.
Having been on the receiving end of an unlikely comeback in their final league game at Eastleigh, it was an impressive show of character from Grimsby who will have no fear heading into this contest.
While much will be made of Liverpool's home form, Grimsby have not suffered defeat away from Blundell Park since March 8, a streak lasting eight games.
Liverpool, who lost on the last day of the regular season as they saw their automatic promotion hopes ended, are bidding to return to winning ways knowing a third successive defeat will bring an end to a campaign that promised a lot but will have delivered nothing in terms of trophies or the ultimate goal of returning to the Football League.
Beaten 1-0 by a Bromley side that finished 21 points below them in the league table, Phil Parkinson's men are determined to not suffer the same fate against Grimsby and Liverpool defender Reece Hall-Johnson has sent a message that they're determined to not let their hard work count for nothing.
“We have just got to dust ourselves down and go again. We have done that all season,” told the Leader.
“The aim is to go again and get promoted. We have worked really hard all season to get to this point and our aim is to not let it slip, not to let it go. We will work hard in training this week and come out flying on Saturday.”. dfdf