Could Liverpool's FA Cup exit actually be positive news for the title race?

Liverpool's dreams of a historic quadruple were dashed at Old Trafford on Sunday as they were knocked out of the FA Cup in a thrilling encounter against Manchester United.

The 4-3 defeat in extra time not only ended their hopes of further cup glory but also raised questions about the toll their packed schedule and injury crisis had taken on the team.

Lethargy seemed evident as Liverpool conceded two very late goals in quick succession during extra time, with Marcus Rashford and Amad Diallo sealing the victory for the home side in the 112th and 121st minutes, respectively.

The defeat not only highlighted the challenges Liverpool have faced on the pitch but also the potential damage their relentless fixture list has inflicted on the squad.

So, is defeat to the old enemy actually a blessing in disguise?

Tired legs

Speaking to BBC Sport following the game, coach Jurgen Klopp said: "It's a crazy schedule, and let's hope they can get through that. Then the season starts. The more of the boys we have available, the better our chances are to finish the season in style."

Liverpool's injury crisis over the last two months, which does show some signs of easing, has forced the remaining available players to play almost every minute, leaving little room for rotation and recovery.

The demanding schedule, combined with the pressure of competing on multiple fronts, has stretched the squad thin and raised concerns about fatigue.

“Obviously we had a much more intense season so far, I think everybody knows that,” Klopp added. “You just have to count the games. Today was hard, it was hard."

The FA Cup exit, however, might offer a silver lining for Liverpool in the race for the Premier League title. Dropping out at this stage means missing out on two more fixtures, providing the team with much-needed respite amid their gruelling campaign.

Midfielder Harvey Elliott was also quick to echo these positives shared by his manager.

As quoted in The Mirror, the 20-year-old said: "Now we can focus on other things. It frees up a few weeks for us. Not as many games anymore, so the lads can be fresh and we can recover properly and focus on the rest of the season."

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Congestion eased

The fixtures that the Reds would have played had they gone all the way in the FA Cup would have taken place on 20 April (semi-final) and 25 May (final).

The semi-final date falls just days after the Europa League quarter-final second leg against Atalanta and would have required the rescheduling of the league game against Fulham penned for that weekend.

That would have been a tough ask, too. With the Reds playing almost every midweek, the most plausible option to play that rearranged fixture would have been in the final week of the season (meaning Liverpool had a game in hand for the entire run-in).

Similarly, the FA Cup final was slated just three days after a potential Europa League final.

Alive at the finish line

With the FA Cup now off the table, Liverpool can redirect their focus and energy towards their remaining competitions, particularly the Premier League.

With the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota now nearing returns, it will be hoped that the reduced fixture load allows for more rotation and, therefore, adequate rest and recovery before the final sprint.

As the title race heats up, Liverpool will look to capitalise on this opportunity to regroup, recharge and mount a strong challenge for both domestic and continental glory.

While the FA Cup exit may have been a disappointment, it could ultimately prove to be a blessing in disguise if it means they reach the finish line with still something left in the tank.

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