Football News

Liverpool 1-0 Shrewsbury: Young Reds set up Chelsea tie on historic night in FA Cup

By Harry Edwards

Published: 23:14, 4 February 2020

Liverpool are into the fifth round of the FA Cup thanks to a 1-0 win over Shrewsbury Town at Anfield.

The build up to the game was largely dominated by Jurgen Klopp’s revelation that no first-team players would be made available for the match, a replay following a 2-2 draw last month, due to the Premier League’s mid-season break.

And the German was true to his word with U23’s manager Neil Critchley taking charge of Liverpool’s youngest ever side, with an average age of 19 years and 102 days.

Liverpool 1-0 Shrewsbury: Five things to know…

  • Liverpool named their youngest ever starting XI on Tuesday night (19 years, 102 days).
  • Jurgen Klopp made himself and the first-team unavailable, in keeping with the Premier League’s mid-season break.
  • Curtis Jones became Liverpool’s youngest ever captain, aged 19 months and five days.
  • A Ro-Shaun Williams own goal was enough to win the game for Liverpool.
  • They will now face Chelsea in the fifth round at Stamford Bridge.

It was the second time Liverpool had fielded their youngest XI this season after previously doing so in the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa, a game which clashed with the Reds’ Club World Cup campaign in Qatar.

Then, a Critchley-led side were beaten 5-0 at Villa Park, but there would be no such defeat this time around.

Curtis Jones was captain on the night and just five days after his 19th birthday is the youngest player to skipper Liverpool’s first team.

It was a closely-fought game with Liverpool enjoying the better chances in the first half but Shrewsbury Town thought they had taken a second-half lead when Shaun Whalley tapped in from close range. However, after a VAR review the goal was ruled out for offside and Liverpool remained in the game.

And they would eventually go on to win it, albeit not with a goal from one of their young stars. Instead, it was an own goal from Ro-Shaun Williams, heading past Max O’Leary with 15 minutes to go, a moment to forget for the former Manchester United youngster.

But what made the winning effort even stranger is that it was the second own goal Shrewsbury scored in the tie, with Donald Love – also a former Man Utd star – netting in the initial game. Of Liverpool’s four FA Cup goals in this season’s campaign, Shrewsbury have scored two.

Liverpool’s first-team players will reap the reward for the fight of their young stars, facing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the fifth round. And while many of them may have been making the most of their breaks, James Milner was getting behind the players at Anfield.

The 34-year-old was seen behind the Liverpool dugout at Anfield and, speaking after the match, Critchley revealed Milner had trained with the young squad on Monday before asking if he could be present at the match.

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“James Milner trained with us yesterday and asked if he could come along,” he told reporters.

“He was very respectful to ask, he asked if he could come in the dressing room. ‘Of course!’ He’s achieved so much in the game.

“He was giving words of advice to the players, he was vocal in the dressing room. I can’t thank him enough.

“He’s not available yet but he was certainly jumping up and down behind me, itching to get back.”