Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has already made his disdain for the fourth round FA Cup replay with minnows Shrewsbury Town well known. His refusal to manage the Reds during the game because the fixture takes place during Liverpool’s winter break as well as his decision not to allow any first-team players to play were met with a chorus of criticism.
Liverpool host Shrewsbury in the replay midweek and the Reds are 28/23 favourites to progress. Town, meanwhile, are outsiders at 10/3, which, on the face of it, is a tempting price, particularly if you haven’t taken advantage of all the bookmaker free bets from sites like Which Bookie.
Klopp has already decided once this season to play a second-string side in a cup competition – that came against Aston Villa in a Carabao Cup fixture in December when Liverpool had to play two games in two days.
It’s not beyond Klopp to put out a side of players that are slowly coming back from injury and need minutes under their belt rather than a side full of kids like he did against Villa. But, the German is making a point. Whilst other Premier League clubs have the midweek off, Liverpool, Newcastle, Southampton and Spurs all have an extra game.
Now, one could quite clearly say that it is the fault of Klopp and Liverpool for not brushing past League One side Shrewsbury Town in the fourth round. If the German had played more of a first-team squad then he and the club wouldn’t be in the predicament they currently are in.
One for the kids
Villa hammered the young Reds back in December 5-0 with the likes of Herbie Kane, Luis Longstaff and Morgan Boyes all taking their place in the starting line-up. The average age was a paltry 19.48, making it the youngest line-up in Liverpool’s history. None of those Liverpool players were alive when Villa last won a trophy in 1996 which highlights just how inexperienced the side was.
And, it appears as though Klopp will be going for more of the same with under-23s boss Neil Critchley taking charge of proceedings in Klopp’s absence.
Why Klopp should have gone in on this tie
Whereas last season the Premier League and Champions League went down to the wire, Liverpool are currently running away with the domestic league, sitting 22 points ahead of Manchester City in second with odds of 1/100 to win the title. In that respect, the Reds can lose seven of their last 13 games and still lift the Premier League trophy.
The fifth round draw takes place at the start of March with Liverpool’s opponents being Chelsea if the former progress. Klopp could quite easily target that game and aim for FA Cup glory – and they are 10/1 to win the whole competition – as well as the league title, firmly etching his name into Liverpool folklore.
If not, and, the Reds just win the Premier League title with so many games in hand and no other trophy, the season will peter out when Klopp could quite easily have made inroads in other competitions.
The “Baby Reds” overcame Everton in the last round, and, with home advantage, could well replicate that stunning victory, but they will be up against a highly-motivated Shrewsbury side with nothing to lose.