Venue – Montgomery Waters Meadow, Shrewsbury
Referee – Andre Marriner
Date & Time – Sunday, January 26th @ 17:00
Current Odds – Shrewsbury 6/1, Draw 4/1, Liverpool 2/5
Jurgen Klopp’s mighty Reds disposed of Merseyside rivals Everton in the last round. Now, Liverpool’s youngsters have a chance of progressing to the last sixteen of the oldest cup competition in the world. While that may not mean a huge amount to some fans in light of The Reds’ 30-year pursuit of league title number 19, there are others who would give anything for another cup final, another day out at Wembley in the May sunshine.
Shrewsbury Town Form
Aside from the FA Cup, Shrewsbury have struggled to show any real consistency this season. Currently, they’re languishing down in 16th in the League One table. They are without a win in their last five league games. Last season, The Shrews only managed to finish 18th in League One so it seems the club might just be content with maintaining its League One status at the moment.
In the FA Cup, Shrewsbury have beaten Bradford City, Mansfield Town and, most recently, Bristol City. Both the Bradford and Bristol City ties were decided by a replay.
Liverpool are 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League table with two games in hand over second-placed Manchester City. The team is also still alive in the defence of its Champions League crown, facing Atletico Madrid later this month in the knockout stages.
Earlier in January, a young Liverpool side knocked Everton out thanks to a fantastic Curtis Jones strike which settled the tie at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp is likely to go with a similar starting eleven against Shrewsbury this Sunday evening.
Shrewsbury Town Team News
Sam Ricketts seems to favour either a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation for Shrewsbury Town this season. On Sunday, I expect them to go with the five-man midfield in a bid to overrun Liverpool in that area of the pitch. The two wide-midfielders, Love and Golbourne, will also be tasked with some extra defensive duties. This will be to ensure Harvey Elliott and Divock Origi don’t have too much space on the flanks of Liverpool’s attack.
Shrewsbury have really struggled for goals this season, managing just 24 in 25 league games so far. The club’s top scorer, Jason Cummings, has just four league goals to his name.
Liverpool Team News
In the last two weeks, Liverpool have welcomed Fabinho, Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren back to full training. James Milner, Naby Keita, Nathaniel Clyne are still missing due to injury while Xherdan Shaqiri is also carrying a slight knock that could keep him out on Sunday.
Nat Phillips has returned to VfB Stuttgart on loan after impressing in the 3rd round victory over Everton.
Adrian should start between the sticks for The Reds with other experienced heads such as Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Divock Origi also getting the nod.
This means Neco Williams and Yasser Larouci will again be given the opportunity to shine for the first-team as well as Pedro Chirivella, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott.
New signing Takumi Minamino will probably get his second start, in the ‘Firmino’ role as a deep-lying number 9.
Shrewsbury Town XI (3-5-2) – Murphy; Williams, Ebanks-Landell, Pierre; Love, Goss, Norburn, Giles, Golbourne; Cummings, Laurent
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Adrian; Williams, Matip, Lovren, Larouci; Lallana, Chirivella, Jones; Elliot, Minamino, Origi
When they last met
The sides have had one previous meeting – a 4-0 win for Liverpool back in the FA Cup 4th round in February 1996. An own-goal along with strikes from Stan Collymore, Robbie Fowler and Jason McAteer finished off the home team on that occasion.
SHREWSBURY TOWN 0 – 2 LIVERPOOL
I predict Liverpool will go marching on. Yes, it won’t be a full-strength team by any stretch of the imagination but there’s still enough quality within the expected starting eleven to overcome a struggling League One side. Of course, I could be eating my words come Sunday night but I doubt it!