Liverpool will hope to clinch a place in the FA Cup fourth round when they welcome Shrewsbury Town to Anfield on Sunday.
The latest round of the FA Cup continues into Sunday, with nine games on show on the day. Liverpool will kick off their campaign by playing hosts to Shrewsbury Town at Anfield, aiming to seal safe passage to the fourth round.
Liverpool’s FA Cup campaign in the 2020/21 season had ended in the fourth round, with Manchester United handing them a 3-2 defeat. The Reds’ recent form has been sub-par, as their only win in the last four games across all competitions came by beating Leicester City in a penalty shootout in the Carabao Cup quarter-final last month.
On the other hand, Shrewsbury Town entered the FA Cup in the first round and beat Stratford Town and Carlisle United to book the third-round date with Liverpool. The Shrews have been in decent touch of late, winning three and drawing one of their last four games.
Liverpool and Shrewsbury Town last locked horns in the FA Cup fourth round, with the Merseyside club needing a replay to get past the minnows two years ago. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 8, 2022
Jurgen Klopp has a raft of roster issues hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Shrewsbury Town. On Sunday, the Liverpool manager, who might not be on the touchline himself amid his recovery from COVID-19, will be bereft of the services of at least eight first-team players.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita are in Cameroon representing their respective national sides at the Africa Cup of Nations. In addition to the trio, Nathaniel Phillips (head), Thiago Alcantara (hip) and Harvey Elliott (ankle) are in the treatment room, while there is a lack of clarity about the availability of Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino following their respective bouts with COVID-19.
In any case, Caoimhin Kelleher was expected to start the FA Cup tie against Shrewsbury Town, with Liverpool lining up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of him. Youngsters Conor Bradley and Billy Koumetio should get a chance to impress, with Joe Gomez and Andrew Robertson being the senior figures in the defensive line.
Up ahead in midfield, Tyler Morton will make his FA Cup bow for Liverpool, with Curtis Jones and James Milner being his partners in the middle of the park. Morton will aim to keep things tight in the middle of the park, while Jones and Milner will be the workhorses for Liverpool.
Finally, Kaide Gordon will be yet another academy product to start for Liverpool, with Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino likely to be thrown into the deep end despite returning to fitness only recently.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Kelleher; Bradley, Gomez, Koumetio, Robertson; Jones, Morton, Milner; Gordon, Origi, Minamino
Unlike his counterpart in the Liverpool dugout, Steve Cotterill has a relatively cleaner bill of health ahead of the trip to Anfield. Daniel Udoh is the only major doubt for Shrewsbury Town, with Tom Bloxham back in contention after serving a suspension.
Marko Marosi will start between the sticks, with Shrewsbury Town lining up in a 3-4-1-2 formation against Liverpool. Matthew Pennington, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Aaron Pierre will form the central defensive partnership. The trio will look to remain compact and shut off the space for the Liverpool attackers to exploit.
Up ahead in midfield, Josh Vela and David Davis will have the onus on them to keep things tight in the middle of the park. The duo will be partnered by Elliott Bennett and Luke Leahy in the second line of the press, with the two wing-backs providing the width higher up the pitch.
Shaun Whalley will reprise the No. 10 role for Shrewsbury, playing much of the game behind the ball but looking to carve out the openings when charging forward. Finally, Bloxham and Ryan Bowman will form the strike partnership, although the duo will largely feed off scraps on Sunday.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Marosi; Pennington, Ebanks-Landell, Pierre; Bennett, Vela, Davis, Leahy; Whalley; Bowman, Bloxham
- Liverpool have faced Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup in two previous campaigns, eliminating the Shrews in the fourth round in both 1995/96 and 2019/20, the latter after a replay.
- Shrewsbury have been eliminated from the FA Cup by Premier League opponents in five of the last six seasons, with three of those ties going to a replay. They lost 1-0 to Southampton in the 2020/21 season in the third round.
- Liverpool have progressed from nine of their last ten FA Cup third-round ties, losing the other 2-1 in the 2018/19 season against Wolves.
- Shrewsbury Town have won their last two away FA Cup matches, beating Stratford Town and Carlisle United this season. The Shrews have never won three in a row on the road in the FA Cup proper.
- Since joining the Football League in 1893, Liverpool have only lost two home FA Cup matches against sides outside the top two tiers of English football, losing to Norwich City in 1908/09 and Bolton Wanderers in 1992/93.
Player to Watch
Much has been said about Morton’s frail build. But the teenage prodigy has made enough of an impression to show why Jurgen Klopp rates him very highly. The game against Shrewsbury Town gives Morton another opportunity to raise his stock and alleviate the need for Liverpool to sign a midfielder in the transfer window. Another big match awaits for the 19-year-old.
Liverpool 3-0 Shrewsbury Town
This game can go only one way, even though Liverpool will be playing a largely second-string side against Shrewsbury. The Shrews managed to take the most recent meeting to a fourth-round replay in the 2019/20 FA Cup, but no such surprises will be in store on Sunday.
One can expect Tyler Morton to be the facilitator of Liverpool’s dominance in the game, while Takumi Minamino will continue his brilliant run of form in cup competitions for Liverpool. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-0 win for the Reds, with Shrewsbury Town’s run ending in the third round.