DESPERATE. The word of the day.
Liverpool were desperate at times today. Jürgen Klopp made 11 changes once again in domestic cup competition, but this time he couldn’t strike the balance that he has struck so well in previous games.
The young lads started the game so well. Neco Williams doing his best Trent Alexander-Arnold impression from right back, Pedro Chirivella all passing and purpose, Yasser Larouci bombing up and down the wing, Harvey Elliott executing some nice flicks early on.
Curtis Jones was the one who stood out once again. Another FA Cup game and another goal will do his confidence no harm. The way the rest of the game panned out possibly will, though.
The more experienced lads just never got into it, aside from Adrian – head and shoulders above every single one of his teammates on the day. Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Fabinho stunk the gaff out, truth be told. Divock Origi just couldn’t make it stick.
For the second game in a row, Klopp’s decision to change from the tried and trusted 4-3-3 seemed to harm Liverpool’s rhythm. And by the time he switched back to it, Shrewsbury already had the wind in their sails, and had knocked it almost completely out of Liverpool.
I’ve written this season about the trust which runs deep at the club at the moment, and how apparent that is whenever any incarnation of a Liverpool side takes to the pitch.
Today the experienced lads couldn’t be trusted to take control of the game, their younger teammates started to lose trust in them and then The Reds just couldn’t stop making mistakes.
It was arguably the second game in a row in which The Reds were crying out for the influence of James Milner. He’s shown he can help carry similar teams to victory, leading by example and keeping standards up. See also Adam Lallana against Everton.
Instead, the lads who were desperate for minutes to recover from their injury problems were just desperate today.
And Klopp was desperate to avoid a replay, to the point that he’d have probably taken a third Shrewsbury goal once their comeback was complete.
People will say it showed the level of respect the manager had for the opposition that he eventually called upon Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino. In fact, it probably showed just how much he didn’t one this one to go to a second game at Anfield.
That was what Shrewsbury were desperate to make happen, and in the end it was entirely deserved. They didn’t hide after a shocking own goal less than 30 seconds into the second half, instead they played on Liverpool’s insecurities and forced The Reds into mistakes.
Those mistakes will at least give Neil Critchley and all the young lads a chance to avenge the Aston Villa scoreline, while Klopp will no doubt have to field further criticism for ‘disrespecting’ the tradition of the domestic cups.
It’s a decision he’ll be cursing the fact he even has to make, but he’ll be able to blame the outdated replay rule and the need to give his players a winter break.
So the League One side deservedly get their dream trip to Anfield, and Liverpool’s youth team gets the chance to play in front of a full Anfield.
Hopefully something positive comes from all this.
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“I was surprised that we were so poor.
“It wasn’t a performance that you would associate with a Liverpool side, regardless of personnel.”
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— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) January 26, 2020
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As you say Neil we were shocking no excuses simple as that . Lets not disrespect the FA cup or the opposition who were outstanding. Experienced players on that pitch were awful to a man. No leaders and we deserve nothing but the criticism we will get. If you pull on a Liverpool shirt and cross the white line then you have to perform . This was Hodgson esque !
Adrian apart of course.
So now we proceed with the kids ….. all of them. Well we cannot in all good faith praise the Everton performance and not massively criticise this one.
Jurgen will not play any senior players in the replay which imho is disrespectful and deserves criticism. They are to have a well earned rest. Well I am sorry but dont agree. They are top class athletes and we should play a decent side in the replay which will not happen . It is not the FA youth cup but The FA cup. Sorry Jurgen love you to bits but you are wrong .
If that is the case charge us all a tenner to get in and give tickets away to the local schools !
Hi Ian, I cannot agree with you regarding what is disrespectful on Klopp’s part for a competition that is outdated. The FA/PL agreed a mid season break and sent out rules regarding it and are now breaking these rules themselves. It was stated for this break to be honoured and no games arranged in this period.
As for Athletes, I have represented Great Britain on the World stage and know what it takes to perform at high levels. The body and mind needs quality rest periods. Our Season last season finished in June. Most of our players then played in International tournaments across the globe. Then this season has been relentless. We are sprinting in the league with no let up and have played in Istanbul in the Europa Super Cup against top 4 opposition Chelsea, played City in the Charity Shield, played and won at the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar and got Everton in the FA Cup at the end of a daunting December period. Oh and we are through to the last 16 of the CL in defence of our title.
In the grand scheme of things it perspective, context and understanding. We want to win the League for the first time in 30yrs. We want to defend our CL trophy. These 2 competitions alone are hard enough to win. We have Atletico in the next round btw. So no disrespect but the FA Cup should be the least of our priorities and rest for both the first team squad and the manager must be the order of the day.
And while discussing context. Please remember we have 3 first team players returning from lengthy lay offs who have only just started working with the ball in training and 4 teenagers in that team, added to a new guy who hasn’t really played since early December and then Origi who hasn’t also had lots of minutes… all played on a pig of a pitch and with officials going out of their way with a narrative of Giant Killing and levelling the playing field. Plus we were playing seasoned professionals who this is their cup final who are being roared on by a passionate home support. – So whilst you may not like this, those are the facts. I will also state you cannot keep demanding of this team who are already delivering at unprecedented levels and this is still a project in development.
Finally, at a time of men’s mental health and well-being discussed and championed, we need to be respectful to those in the know. This break is as much for our manager and coaching staff and all the first team and their families. So please can I ask that we all respect that as the FA are failing to and they are only interested in their competition making money for their organisation. We should be applauding Klopp for his stand and standing with him.
Sorry but the FA need a long hard look at its self. They have constantly moaned about players being tired a Tournaments, yet moan when we put kids in. The FA has said it has helped by taking away the replays from the 5th round and said the Premier League could have put their winter break around there. Well the Champions League starts end Feb beginning March, so where would they fit it in. No other country has replays in cup comps. The FA needs to wake up and listen to the different voices stating the players health. Lower league sides complain about less money, then why don’t they switch grounds, it has been done in the past. To also say the Premier league clubs don’t care about the compation is bull. Lower league clubs were going out of business long before the premier league was formed.
Well said Lambo