Nobody would have expected the European and club world champions to have many problems when they were drawn against Shrewsbury in the 4th round of the FA Cup. Liverpool were expected to win comfortably against the League one side playing in the third tier, but the match ended in a 4 goal thriller as the underdogs drew the game 2-2 and forced a replay.
Liverpool did not start with their strongest team which seems par for the course for Klopp and domestic cup competitions. However there were still some recognisable faces on the pitch in the form of Dejan Lovren, Divock Origi, Fabinho and Adrian was in goal. Liverpool opted to play a 4-3-3 whilst the home team had a slightly daring 3-5-2 wanting to try and pack the midfield out. It was risque to see the team happy to play 2 up front and just 3 at the back against the Reds.
The away side dominated possession and it was no surprise that they took the lead within 15 minutes through Curtis Jones who had stunned Everton in the 3rd round. Scoring so early it felt like Liverpool could 5 or 6 goals, but to their credit Shrewsbury held firm and the half time score read as 0-1.
As the 2nd half got under way Shrewsbury would have had the belief that they were still in the game but just a minute after the whistle they found themselves 2-0 down and practically out of the cup. To add insult to the wounds it was an own goal converted by defender Donald Love. Well no home fan was loving this.
But Shrewsbury found a way back, which was handed to them by one of Liverpool’s youngsters Yasser Larouci his foul giving away a penalty. Jason Cummings made no mistake and slotted home- suddenly there was belief that this game was not dead. Ten minutes later the stadium erupted like it had not done so before when Cummings ran through and took a shot, now it was 2-2 and the atmosphere in the stadium was simply electric.
Jurgen Klopp looked like someone who had been told that Christmas had been banned for the rest of his life. Distraught, angry on the touchline he played his ace cards. On came quality, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain but for the final ten minutes Liverpool could not find a breakthrough and the game ended 2-2.
It was a shock result even if we consider that Liverpool did not start their strongest team and the clubs will meet again in a weeks time.
But there will be a bigger fall out from this as Klopp desperately wanted to win this game and has announced that not only will he field a complete second string side at Anfield he will also not be there to coach the team. This is because there is a gap week in the Premier League and players and coaches have taken pre-arranged holidays.
This is great news for Shrewsbury though, who now have a chance to reach the 5th round of the FA Cup. You would think that any neutral will be willing them on to do it now.
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