Tarak Malhotra Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
Shrewsbury traveled to Anfield (February 6) to face Liverpool in the 4th round replay of their FA Cup tie. Liverpool were held to a 2-2 draw at the Montgomery Waters Meadow (January 26) despite being 2-0 up for the majority of the game.
Most of the Liverpool senior squad are away on leave after a grueling December and January, playing over 12 fixtures over the course of the two months. As a result, the U-23 and Academy manager, Neil Critchley, took charge of the team for this fixture.
Their last match ended 2-2, despite Liverpool having a comfortable two goal lead for the majority of the game. Their goals came from promising young Liverpool Academy product Curtis Jones, and an own goal from Shrewsbury defender Donald Love.
However, Shrewsbury’s supersub Jason Cummings came on in the 60th minute to score two massive goals for Shrewsbury. One being a penalty, the other coming from open play.
After the January game, Klopp told the press that he would ‘refuse to manage Liverpool’ for their replay. This could have been because the Liverpool manager does not see the significance of the FA Cup, or because he wants to rest the senior squad for their upcoming league games. The manager has consistently played teams below his senior squad, starting young players against the likes of Arsenal as well as Everton’s first team.
When the day of the replay came, manager Neil Critchley chose to play a squad with an average age of 19 years and five days. Scouser Curtis Jones was named as captain, making him Liverpool’s youngest captain in their history. Although the Reds seemed inexperienced on paper, they played with promise, dominating most of the game. Liverpool maintained 70% possession throughout the game. They also registered 14 shots on goal with four on target. This is especially impressive when compared to Shrewsbury’s four shots on goal and zero on target.
Liverpool’s goal came after a loose cross from the Reds met the head of Shrewsbury center-back Ro-Shaun Williams, who headed straight into his own goal for an extraordinary own goal.
Liverpool’s win means that they will face Chelsea in the next round of the FA Cup, with Jurgen Klopp returning as manager.