FA CUP: Liverpool young guns have fun in Shrewsbury 1-0 win

Updated: Feb 06, 2020, 08:15 IST | AFP | London

The youngest-ever Liverpool side beat Shrewsbury 1-0 to enter Round Five

Liverpool players are ecstatic after their 1-0 win over Shrewsbury on Tuesday. Pic /Getty Images
Liverpool players are ecstatic after their 1-0 win over Shrewsbury on Tuesday. Pic /Getty Images

London: Liverpool's youngest ever team proved coach Jurgen Klopp was right to rest his stars as they reached the FA Cup fifth round with a 1-0 win against third-tier Shrewsbury on Tuesday. Klopp and his entire first team were all absent for the fourth round replay at Anfield as part of the club's winter break. The Liverpool manager was criticised for disrespecting the FA Cup, but his youngsters proved up to the task and their mature display was rewarded when Ro-Shaun Williams headed the decisive own goal in the closing stages. Liverpool will face Chelsea in the Last-16 at Stamford Bridge in March as they remain on course for a potential treble of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

Critchley takes Klopp's place

Klopp had turned over the responsibility of leading Liverpool to the club's under-23 coach Neil Critchley, who also took charge when the Reds played an under-strength side for their League Cup quarter-final defeat at Aston Villa earlier this season. On that occasion, Klopp had a better excuse for his absence as Liverpool were in Qatar on course to win the Club World Cup. This time, it was purely his decision to ignore the FA Cup, but resting Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk and company at least gave fans a glimpse of the next generation. With an average age of 19 years and 102 days, it was Liverpool's youngest ever starting line-up in all competitions.

There were seven teenagers, including Harvey Elliott, 16, while Pedro Chirivella was the oldest player in the team at 22. Liverpool-born teenager Curtis Jones became the club's youngest captain at 19 years and five days. Liverpool had blown a two-goal lead in that original meeting, but several of these youngsters had helped stun Everton in the third round and once again they showcased their potential. "The manager sent a message prior to the game with some words of advice and support, which was fantastic," Critchley said of his contact with Klopp.

"He is delighted with the performance. There was a message at half-time and at full-time. "He said Chelsea away could be an opportunity for one or two of them and they put in a performance tonight."

Newcastle survive

Meanwhile, Newcastle reached the fifth round for the first time since 2006 after a 3-2 win at third tier Oxford.

19yrs, 5days
Curtis Jones on Tuesday became Liverpool's youngest captain

19yrs, 102days
The average age of the Liverpool starting XI that faced Shrewsbury in the FA Cup on Tuesday

40
Number of matches Liverpool have been unbeaten at Anfield

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