Liverpool will be looking to make it to the fifth round of the FA Cup when they welcome Shrewsbury Town to Anfield on Tuesday night.
Having been surprisingly held to a 2-2 draw by lower league side Shrewsbury Town in the fourth round of the FA Cup, Liverpool will be aiming to get the job done when the two sides clash against each other on Tuesday for a replay at Anfield.
Liverpool led the game 2-0 for over an hour, but a late comeback from Shrewsbury forced a replay. Much of the talk leading into the game has been about Jurgen Klopp’s decision to go into the winter break with his first-team, meaning it will be the Reds’ reserve team that will be taking the field on Tuesday night.
This is not the first time such an instance has happened this season, with Liverpool fielding their Under-23 side against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup, while a majority of their starting XI in the 1-0 derby win against Everton in the third round of FA Cup was comprised of the reserves as well. It will be interesting how Neil Critchley & co. fare on Tuesday night.
Shrewsbury Town have lost both their fixtures after the FA Cup clash, with their most recent game ending in a 1-0 defeat to Rochdale. However, the Shrews will be buoyed by their comeback against Liverpool last time out and will fancy their chances going up against the Liverpool Under-23 side.
Ahead of this enticing match-up coming our way from Anfield, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
As mentioned previously, it will be the Liverpool reserve team that will start on Tuesday, with Neil Critchley in the dugout. Among the reserves, Yasser Larouci is a doubt for the game with an injury, but Adam Lewis is back from a knee injury to provide cover in the left-back department.
Isaac Christie-Davies and Herbie Kane, who both featured in the Carabao Cup game against Aston Villa, have left the club on loan, while there will be a couple of new faces in January signing Joe Hardy, who arrived from Brentford and Liam Millar, who was called back from his loan spell at Kilmarnock.
There is no looking past Caoimhin Kelleher in goal for Liverpool, while the backline pretty much picks itself as Neco Williams is a sure starter at right-back, with Sepp van den Berg and Ki-Jana Hoever pairing up at the centre. Should Larouci not be passed fit within time for the game, Lewis ought to get the nod at left-back ahead of Tony Gallacher.
Pedro Chirivella will be in charge of sweeping things up in the centre of the park for Liverpool. Curtis Jones, who scored the only goal of the game in the previous round against Everton, will be tasked with providing the forward thrust in the middle. The third midfield slot will likely be taken up by Leighton Clarkson.
Harvey Elliott is a guaranteed starter on the right side of the Liverpool attack, while the returning Millar should feature on the left flank. Spearheading the attack for Critchley’s side on Tuesday should be Joe Hardy, who has scored three times in his first five matches for the Reds’ Under-23s.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Kelleher; Williams, Hoever, van den Berg, Lewis; Clarkson, Chirivella, Jones; Elliott, Hardy, Millar
The Shrews’ boss Sam Ricketts has just one major injury concern heading into the game with captain Oliver Norburn potentially ruled out. Given how they mounted an unlikely comeback in the last leg, the manager is likely to stick with most of the players that started at the New Meadow.
Shrewsbury will line up with a three-man defence in front of goalkeeper Max O’Leary, with the backline likely to comprise of former Manchester United academy man Ro-Shaun Williams, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Aaron Pierre. Donald Love, who scored an own goal in the last game against Liverpool, will line up at right wing-back, with Scott Golbourne on the left.
With Norburn a doubt for the game, David Edwards is likely to come in at the base of the midfield for Shrewsbury. He will be supported in his task to thwart Liverpool by Sean Goss, while Josh Laurent will be in charge of driving his team forward from the centre.
Shaun Whalley is likely to occupy one of the two slots in attack for the Shrews, while the second spot will be taken up by Jason Cummings, who scored a double against Liverpool in the last game.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): O’Leary; Williams, Ebanks-Landell, Pierre; Love, Laurent, Edwards, Goss, Golbourne; Whalley, Cummings
- Liverpool host Shrewsbury in a match for the first time, with their two previous meetings coming at the Shrews in FA Cup ties – a 4-0 win for the Reds in February 1996 and their 2-2 draw in this season’s fourth round.
- In all competitions, Shrewsbury have won one of their 28 away matches against sides from the top-flight (W1 D3 L24), a 1-0 win at Leicester City in August 2014 in the League Cup.
- Liverpool have handed 18 first-team debuts in the 2019-20 season, 16 of which have been players under the age of 21. Only in the 2015-16 campaign did the Reds have more number of debutants in a single season (19).
- Shrewsbury Town are unbeaten in their last six FA Cup encounters, winning and drawing three games apiece.
- Liverpool have won just one of their last five home FA Cup matches against sides from outside the Premier League (D3 L1) – three of those five games have ended 0-0.
Player to Watch
The 19-year-old has made a strong impression each time he has been given an opportunity in the Liverpool first-team this season. Jones put in a starring display in the Reds’ 2-0 win against MK Dons in the Carabao Cup early in the campaign and was the difference-maker in the win against Everton in the FA Cup last month.
Jones then went on to score in the draw against Shrewsbury in the reverse fixture and with the teenager set to don the captain’s armband for Tuesday’s game, he will be looking to lead the side from the front and take Liverpool to the next round of the competition.
Liverpool 2-1 Shrewsbury Town
Liverpool will be fielding their reserve team on Tuesday night, with Jurgen Klopp opting to prioritise the winter break over the FA Cup replay. This ought to give Shrewsbury Town a solid chance heading into the game, after they made an excellent comeback in the home tie last month.
The last time Liverpool Under-23s replaced the seniors in a cup game, they were beaten 5-0 by Aston Villa. However, with the Shrews losing their last two fixtures the Reds’ youth stars will back themselves to come out on top. It is likely to be a close encounter, but Neil Critchley’s side, buoyed by the home support, should edge it to progress to the next round.