Jürgen Klopp to field Liverpool youngsters in Shrewsbury replay

• ‘Players need this time off’ says manager after FA Cup draw
• Klopp praises Shrewsbury’s team and crowd after comeback

Jürgen Klopp did not seek to make excuses after his side were held in the FA Cup by League One Shrewsbury, though he did indicate that the date of the replay will be a problem for Liverpool, as senior players have been given time off for a winter break.

“We intend to honour the original idea of the break,” the Liverpool manager said. “We have respect for the players’ welfare and they need this time off. We got a letter from the authorities in April last year asking us not to organise anything during the week of the break and we haven’t. We have given the players the time off, and some are going away. They will still be keeping fit, but they do not have to play football that week and they do not have to come in to Melwood.”

The upshot will most likely be a repeat of the League Cup exercise at Aston Villa a month ago, with Neil Critchley again in charge of a side of youngsters when Shrewsbury turn up at Anfield for the replay, on Tuesday 4 February or Wednesday 5 February.

Liverpool should never have needed a replay in any case after going 2-0 up early in the second half, and Klopp accepted his side should have seen out the game.

“We lost the ball in the wrong moments and we never got used to the pitch,” he said. “We conceded the penalty after losing the ball and when they scored their second goal it was after we had lost two challenges in a row. We didn’t play well enough to take anything from the game, we got what we deserved. I would like to give Shrewsbury credit for their performance and the atmosphere their supporters produced. I enjoyed the atmosphere around the cup tie, I just didn’t enjoy the way we played.”

The Shrewsbury manager, Sam Ricketts, confessed he had been worried about taking on the league leaders after seeing the scores from games played earlier on Sunday. “I was just hoping someone could provide an upset, and I couldn’t be happier that it was us,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. The belief within the group is unbelievable, I told the players at half-time the game was there for them. We could have won it too, but I think everybody wanted to go to Anfield.”


Paul Wilson at New Meadow

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