A sloppy second-half collapse saw Liverpool draw 2-2 against League One Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup fourth round, and it was the senior players who failed to impress.
Shrewsbury 2-2 Liverpool
FA Cup Fourth Round, New Meadow
January 26, 2020
Goals: Jones 15′, Love (OG) 46; Cummings pen 65′ & Cummings 75′
Chirivella Impresses Again
Let’s start with a positive, and one man who did his reputation no harm was Pedro Chirivella.
The Spaniard was exceptional in the last round against Everton, and while he didn’t reach those heights this time around, he caught the eye once more.
Chirivella’s perfectly weighted pass allowed Curtis Jones to open the scoring in the first half, but his all-round game also caught the eye.
Calm in possession and forever with his head up, the midfielder also worked his socks off and displayed good tactical awareness playing in a more advanced role than typically.
He can’t be absolved of Liverpool’s wretched display after the break, but he was one of the Reds’ standout individuals.
Chances are, he has no future at Anfield in the long-term, but he will be a good player for another team lower down the English football hierarchy.
Rusty Returns… To Say The Least
This was a horror show from the trio, however.
All three players deserve an element of leeway because of a lack of first-team action, but given Liverpool’s opponents, none will ever want to watch back their performances in a hurry.
In the first half, it was Fabinho was looked the weak-link, regularly losing the ball and appearing to run in treacle at times.
Then, it was Lovren and Matip’s turn after the interval, with the pair the key culprits in Liverpool falling to pieces against League One opposition.
Lovren, often needlessly overly aggressive, was hopeless for Jason Cummings’ equaliser, committing himself horribly and being nutmegged in the process.
The centre-back pair grew more disorganised as the game progressed, until Matip was subbed.
On this evidence, all three returning stars will take a while to return to Liverpool’s starting lineup in the Premier League.
The 33-year-old came in for Alisson and he showed why he is the best backup goalkeeper in the country.
He brilliantly came to Liverpool’s rescue in the first half, saving expertly with his feet, before making another smart stop the other side of half-time.
While Matip, Lovren and Fabinho were comically playing the Reds into trouble, the Spaniard was calm and precise with his distribution, too.
Man of the match, which says a lot about the rest of his teammates.
Origi Worse From the Start
What an odd footballer Divock Origi is.
The Belgian is rightly seen as a Liverpool legend following his heroics last season, but he can be curiously ineffective.
Origi is so often more impactful from the substitutes’ bench again and he showed again at New Meadow that he struggles from the start of games.
The 24-year-old’s inability to hold the ball up blunted Liverpool’s attack, but his work ethic was also poor, with one lackadaisical jog back in the second half when he should have sprinted, summing him up.
Came to life, finally, late on and forced a couple of saves, but the Belgian will be disappointed with his latest audition.
A big-game player, but ineffective when it’s not a big game.
Klopp will have been fuming with what he saw from his players after they went 2-0 up, especially as the replay disrupts the ‘winter break’ and therefore preparations for the Atletico Madrid match.
There seems to be some ‘fans’ claiming he should have named a stronger side in order to avoid a replay, but this was a side that should have been capable of winning this game.
The display was unacceptable and as one of the most ruthless managers in the business, the German will not forget it.
The likes of Matip, Lovren and Fabinho will do well to earn a league start any time soon – Takumi Minamino was quiet, too – and various youngsters were also shown up in a difficult atmosphere against more physical opponents.
It’s a trip to West Ham up next for Liverpool on Wednesday and Klopp will be hellbent on ensuring his team buck their ideas up at the London Stadium.
It will be a very different starting XI that takes to the field, but it is imperative that the Reds move on from this minor setback.
With Sadio Mane sidelined due to his hamstring injury, not many here did enough to show they should be starting on Wednesday.