Jurgen Klopp stuck to his word and chose not to participate in the FA Cup replay tonight against Shewsbury Town, taking full advantage of the winter break by sending himself and his players on holidays. (Except for James Milner, who apparently chose to attend the game anyway. Most boring palpable discord!)
The FA in response pulled the game from all TV coverage, domestic or international, which only hurt the smaller team, but no one’s ever accused The FA of sound decision-making.
Either way, instead of the all-conquering first-team, Liverpool thus sent out their Development Squad, average age of barely over 19, who were beaten 5-0 under similar circumstances in the
FA League Cup a couple months ago (when Liverpool’s first-team were at the FIFA Club World Cup). In fact, it was Liverpool’s youngest ever starting lineup, captained by their youngest ever captain, Curtis Jones, who recently announced himself with a wondergoal in the first game between these two sides.
Strawberry Shrewsbury Town are a struggling third division side, while Aston Villa are a struggling Premier League side. And that’s a pretty big difference in quality, which meant that Liverpool still managed to squeak by the lower league side at Anfield, thanks to a late own goal by former Manchester United youngster Ro-Shaun Williams and of course a friendly VAR decision that disallowed an opening goal for Shrewsbury on a marginal offside.
It’s just Liverpool’s season, isn’t it?
Up to us now to knock them out of the FA Cup at least.
Chelsea will play Liverpool (U23?) at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, March 5 (19.45 kick-off).