Fabinho, Tyler Morton and Kaide Gordon stood out as Liverpool came from behind to beat Shrewsbury Town 4-1 in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp was available to take charge of Liverpool on the touchline, and the German tactician named a fairly strong side to take on Shrewsbury Town. But while the Reds hogged the possession in the early exchanges, Shrewsbury carved out the better chances in the opening quarter of the game.
The Shrews grabbed a shock lead midway through the first half, as Daniel Udoh had the simplest of tap-ins to complete from Nathanael Ogbeta’s low cross. However, in the 34th minute, Liverpool hit back as Kaide Gordon scored his maiden goal for the Reds with a composed finish. And as half-time approached, Liverpool went ahead, as Fabinho converted from the spot after earning a penalty due to a handball by Ethan Ebanks-Landell.
The hosts were firmly in control over the proceedings after the interval, but chances came few and far between. That was until the 78th minute when Roberto Firmino produced a brilliant backheel flick after Tyler Morton superbly kept the move alive. And with the last kick of the game, the tie was won, as Fabinho doubled his tally from close range to make it 4-1.
The result means that despite being made to work hard, Liverpool sealed safe passage through to the fourth round of the FA Cup, with their next opponent set to be determined from Sunday’s draw. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Caoimhin Kelleher: 6/10
There was not much that Kelleher could have done to deny Daniel Udoh after being sold short by the defenders in front of him. Otherwise, there was not a great deal of goalkeeping to do for the young goalkeeper, although he did charge out of his area smartly when needed.
Conor Bradley: 6.5/10
With Trent Alexander-Arnold rested and Neco Williams not involved, Bradley had a chance to impress. However, the 18-year-old showed inexperience when he failed to close down the space for Nathanael Ogbeta to cross the ball. However, Bradley made amends by laying on the low cross for Kaide Gordon to score from and was a constant outlet on the right flank for much of the game.
Ibrahima Konate: 6/10
Paired up with Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the Liverpool defence, Konate was in for a tough ride on Sunday. The young Frenchman showed little awareness of his surroundings when Udoh ghosted behind him before breaking the deadlock. There were a few more hairy moments, but Konate did well to win six duels while also completing 93 of his attempted passes.
Virgil van Dijk: 7/10
Donning the captain’s armband for Liverpool in the absence of Jordan Henderson and James Milner, van Dijk struggled to get going initially. The Dutchman was caught napping when Udoh scored the opener, and there were a couple of other nervy moments. However, van Dijk was imperious in the air, winning all of his seven aerial duels.
Andrew Robertson: 6/10
Robertson barely had any defensive work to do, with Shrewsbury pinned back for the most part. The Scottish international was a constant outlet down the left flank and played a couple of key passes, although his deliveries were not necessarily on point. He picked up a knock late on, which will be a concern for Klopp.
Elijah Dixon-Bonner: 6/10
Handed a rare start in the first team, Dixon-Bonner did not add much value to the game, even though he floated around constantly. While he did play one key pass, some of his touches were wasteful, meaning this was a missed opportunity for him.
Fabinho’s penalty record for Liverpool and AS Monaco (excluding shootouts):
◎ 23 penalties taken
◉ 22 penalties scored
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 9, 2022
After completely overcoming his coronavirus woes, Fabinho was stationed at the base of the Liverpool midfield. The Brazilian could not assert total domination for the Reds to begin with, but he slowly found his feet and paved the way for his team to win.
However, Fabinho grabbed a brace as he netted a penalty in the first half before capping off a solid performance with his second of the afternoon, scoring with the final touch of the match from close range.
Tyler Morton: 8/10
Instead of being deployed at the base of the midfield, Morton, the Player to Watch in our preview, had to essay a box-to-box midfield role. The teenage prodigy’s stock would have risen further after the latest outing, as he kept play ticking while misplacing just four key passes. Morton also showed what he is all about by keeping the play alive in the build-up to Roberto Firmino’s goal.
Kaide Gordon: 8/10
17 – Aged 17 years and 96 days, Kaide Gordon is the second-youngest goalscorer in Liverpool's history, after only Ben Woodburn v Leeds in November 2016 (17 years 45 days). Dream. #EmiratesFACup pic.twitter.com/cck5dboZks
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 9, 2022
Making his FA Cup bow for Liverpool, Gordon had a game to fondly remember as he scored his first Liverpool goal. And the teenage prodigy showcased remarkable composure to net the strike, shifting the ball onto his left foot before finding the back of the net. As for the rest of his outing, the 17-year-old was a bundle of energy and
Max Woltman: 6/10
Handed his full debut for Liverpool, Woltman’s inexperience showed in some moments, although he did win a couple of fouls smartly. The youngster completed all of his attempted passes, but he could not get into dangerous scoring positions. He will be better for his experience.
Tyler Morton on playing with Max Woltman: "I was absolutely buzzing walking out with him at the start. I couldn't be more proud of him, how we both came up & the opportunity we were given. To see him on the pitch with me & giving him the ball felt a bit mad." [LFCTV] pic.twitter.com/qFFYsERgLE
— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) January 9, 2022
Curtis Jones: 6/10
Installed in an unfamiliar left-wing role, Jones seemed to be caught out by the demands of the position and struggled to carve out the openings. The English under-21 international often dropped too deep, although he did complete almost all of his attempted passes. Jones looked much more in control over the game after dropping into his usual midfield role and pulled the strings smartly.
Takumi Minamino: 6/10
A surprise omission from the starting lineup, perhaps due to his recent fitness issues, Minamino replaced Woltman at the break. The Japanese international saw a lot of the ball in the second half and linked up smartly with those around him, although he could not continue his brilliant cup form.
Roberto Firmino: 7/10
Back after making a full recovery from a recent illness, Firmino looked determined to make up for the lost time. The Brazilian also found the back of the net with a cheeky backheel flick that went through the legs of a Shrewsbury Town defender.
Roberto Firmino has scored at Anfield for the first time since his 90th minute winner against Tottenham in December 2020.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 9, 2022
Melkamu Frauendorf: N/A
Frauendorf came on for Gordon late in the second half to make his first-team debut but did not have much time to make an impression.
Kostas Tsimikas: N/A
A late introduction in place of the injured Robertson, Tsimikas helped see the game out while also playing the free-kick in the build-up to Fabinho’s second.
James Norris: N/A
Another one of Liverpool’s players to make their full debut for Liverpool, Norris barely got a touch on the ball.