Liverpool’s youngest starting line-up beat Shrewsbury Town to set up an FA Cup fifth-round tie at Chelsea. Their win sent Klopp “buzzing” with congratulatory messages after the match.
Liverpool’s senior players were out for their inaugural Premier League winter break. In this case, the under-23s boss Neil Critchley lead a side containing seven teenage outfield players at Anfield.
Shrewsbury had come from 2-0 down to force a fourth-round replay. At 0-0 Shrewsbury’s Shaun Whalley thought he had awarded the Shrews a lead. However, his header was disallowed when VAR ruled there had been an offside in the build-up.
Shrews could not recover after defender Williams headed past his own keeper from Liverpool right-back Neco William’s cross.
Liverpool teenage kicks at Anfield.
This was a match Klopp and his team was against. The manager had made it clear within the last minutes of the first meeting that he would not be asking his senior players to interrupt their winter break for the replay.
Instead, the Reds fielded a team constating wholly players from the under 23s squad. At the average age of 19-years and 102 days, it was the youngest line-up in Liverpool’s history.
Curtis Jones and 16-year-old Harvey Elliot were the only Reds players on show with the Premier League experience. At least, there was one of Klopp’s senior players in the sell out crowd with James Milner sat behind the home dugout offering his support.
In the end, there were jubilant scenes on the pitch as Liverpool reached the last 16 despite the 22 senior players and first-team manager, Klopp’s absence.
The teenagers were given a standing ovation when they celebrated a hard-fought win in front of the Kop.
Klopp buzzed by Liverpool’s youngest team
Klopp, as he did in December when he was away with the first team at the Club World Cup in Qatar watched the game from afar. He offered his backing via phone.
“The boss was in touch this afternoon with some words of advice and encouragement.” Said Critchley.
“He just gives you total clarity, belief, plays the Liverpool way, go for it. And that is what the first team does. This is us; this is how we play and this is what we stand for. You had better be ready for it.”
“We had a message from the staff that he was delighted with the performance and is buzzing. We have given him a game against Chelsea to look forward to.”