Liverpool make the trip to Shrewsbury for the fourth round of the FA Cup, where a much-changed side are set to be in action.
Shrewsbury vs. Liverpool
Sunday, January 26, 2020 – 5pm (GMT)
FA Cup Fourth Round
Referee: Andre Marriner
With 21 Premier League wins to their name, Liverpool were on the search for their 22nd last time out against a side many had tipped Jurgen Klopp’s men to stumble against for what would be only the second time.
And while Wolves asked a number of questions of the Reds in what was one of the toughest games to date, Liverpool held strong and again found a way to win through Roberto Firmino after Raul Jimenez had cancelled out Jordan Henderson’s opener.
The affair was a taxing one and now Klopp is set to look to his younger brigade, those on the fringes and those returning from injury as attention turns to the FA Cup.
The Reds earned their place in the fourth round after Curtis Jones netted his first senior goal in stunning fashion against a strong Everton XI, a game which saw fellow teenagers in Neco Williams and Harvey Elliott come to the fore.
At each time of asking, Klopp’s much-changed sides in the domestic cup competitions have risen to the occasion and now they face a side who sit 59 places below them in the Football League pyramid.
Shrewsbury currently sit 16th in League One, seven points off the play-off places, and are managed by former Hull and Wolves defender Sam Ricketts.
This season is Ricketts’ first full campaign at the helm having joined in December 2018, with his side securing the tie against the Reds thanks to a strike at the death in the third round replay against the Championship’s Bristol City.
Liverpool have never progressed beyond the fourth round of the competition since Klopp’s arrival, but this time around they’re heavy favourites to do just that.
While he was unlikely to feature on Sunday, Sadio Mane‘s hamstring injury sustained against Wolves remains the low point of the week with a potential return date not yet known.
However, there is welcome news on Naby Keita who “will be an option” should he have made it through the Reds’ training session on Friday.
Liverpool’s No. 8 has missed the last five games with a groin injury sustained during the warm-up ahead of the win over Sheffield United.
Klopp is to rotate heavily for the fixture having revealed he is to turn to “fresh legs” after three games in 12 days, with Adrian‘s place in between the sticks already confirmed, while Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip are both set to feature for the first time in 2020.
Fabinho is expected to be handed his first start since the end of November, while the likes of Williams, Jones, Elliott and Yasser Larouci are to be involved – with Divock Origi the man to lead the attack.
After a tough league debut, Takumi Minamino could feature once more while Pedro Chirivella could also be turned to as doubts continue to surround Adam Lallana‘s availability after being forced out of the matchday squad against Wolves with a virus.
Away fans’ pubs: Both the Wild Pig and Charles Darwin Pubs are just a 10 to 15-minute walk away from the ground.
New Meadow, currently known as Montgomery Waters Meadow, opened in 2007, replacing Shrewsbury’s former ground Gay Meadow.
The club, formed in 1886, was the first side in the Football League to apply for safe standing in 2017, and they currently have 550 rail seats.
Did You Know?
The two teams have only ever met once prior to the clash on Sunday, with Liverpool emerging as 4-0 victors in an FA Cup fourth round tie.
The game took place Gay Meadow in February 1996, where the win catapulted Roy Evans’ side to the final where they would finish as runners-up.
Stan Collymore, Robbie Fowler and Jason McAteer all found the net, with an own goal also added into the mix, with the latter three goals all coming in the final 20 minutes.
The Reds will be eager for history to repeat itself but they will need to reverse their fortunes on the road in the competition as they have won just one of their last five, while Shrewsbury have lost just one of their last 17 home FA Cup games.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Shrewsbury – Last five results (all competitions)
Drew 2-2 vs. Fleetwood
Won 1-0 vs. Bristol City
Drew 1-1 vs. Lincoln City
Lost 2-0 vs. Doncaster
Drew 1-1 vs. Bristol City
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the boss was under no illusions that the meeting with Shrewsbury will be straightforward, but he is confident his players will approach the game with the right mentality:
“It’s clear without a winning mentality it’s difficult to win football games.
“But I don’t think the players left a shadow of a doubt this season that they want to win the game when they are part of the game.
“Wherever it is, whoever it was, whoever was the opponent. So [a winning mentality is] very important, of course.
“We know it’s a tough place to go, how it always is in cup competitions.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Liverpool’s trip to Shrewsbury will be shown live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 4.30pm (GMT), with kickoff set for 5pm.
Joanna Durkan will be taking you through all the action and keeping you entertained on This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, starting from 4.15pm.