Liverpool came from behind to avoid a giant-killing and knock Shrewsbury out of the FA Cup to take our place in the fourth round, 4-1 the score at Anfield.
Liverpool 4-1 Shrewsbury
Anfield, FA Cup third round
9 January, 2022
Goals: Gordon 33′, Fabinho pen 43′ 92′, Firmino 79′; Udoh 26′
Caoimhin Kelleher – 7 (out of 10)
Good footwork and starting position to help clear long balls in behind the defence and start attacks from the back. No chance on the goal from close range.
Ended the half with a punch clear a bit like his one for Kovacic’s volley, but this time saved the header which came back his way.
One lucky escape very late on as the ball got stuck under his studs but did well to recover and clear.
Conor Bradley – 7
Beaten by two successive runs and crosses, the second of which set up the opener.
Better going the other way, winning a load of corners and keeping the pressure on, before winning two big tackles against dribbles before the break.
Good running again late on to hit the byline and create the chance for the third goal.
Ibrahima Konate – 5
Fine on the ball under no pressure but was absolutely in the middle of nowhere for the goal, didn’t know where his man was and wasn’t in position to cut out the cross.
Aerially did a few handy bits of work and one rampaging run looked Matip-esque until the wayward pass at the end, but equally gave away a chance or two with his passes not being accurate enough.
Involved in the third goal.
Virgil van Dijk – 5
Not his finest outing. Some sloppy first-half passes and a header sent over, while he also maybe could have either bellowed at Konate or stepped across for the first goal of the game.
A short backpass almost proved costly and he just wasn’t as commanding as usual in a low-key game.
Andy Robertson – 7
A needed return to action after his suspension and the Reds’ cancelled games.
Some really good overlapping runs and quick crosses, though defensively was beaten a few times too. Took a late hit across the heel so hopefully no lasting injury there.
Fabinho – 9 – Man of the Match
Buried a lovely penalty before the break. Prior to that he had won his usual number of balls in midfield, taken a finger-poke in the eye and reminded a few of the youngsters around them that they had to do the physical as well as the technical work.
One of the few to keep his level after the break as tiredness, sloppiness and or complacency set in elsewhere.
Thundered in a late fourth for the Reds and a second for himself!
Tyler Morton – 7
A fairly sloppy start from Tyler on the ball too, but he cut that out soon enough and had a decent overall game.
Not hugely involved with the defensive work, tracking some of the time but mostly just bypassed by the direct passes. In possession, neat and productive, progressive at times.
Elijah Dixon-Bonner – 7
A full debut for the 21-year-old who spent last summer on trial at Portsmouth!
Neat and tidy on the ball without being overly adventurous. A few clever passes into the penalty area when the Reds played their triangles.
One run into the box really should have resulted in a goal right after half-time – his close-range shot was brilliantly saved.
Kaide Gordon – 7
The 17-year-old is now the second-youngster scorer in LFC history, and the Reds’ youngest ever in the FA Cup.
The regular outlet for the team in the first half, happy to go on the outside of his man or check infield to get a shot away – a low one was saved, another blocked.
Then his first big proper chance came just after the opener and he didn’t miss a step: a great first touch, changed the angle and opened his body, then a composed side-footed finish for his first-ever goal. Magic moment!
Quiet second half for the most part.
Max Woltman – 6
A nice opportunity for the Wirral-born 18-year-old with an unexpected debut. Plenty of business, running and harassing, the odd foul and moment of link play.
Nothing really came toward him in the box so we can’t judge too much of his striker prowess at senior level and was replaced at the break.
Curtis Jones – 7
Needs to get himself a good run of games after a very stuttering campaign so far. Some flashes of excellence and a bit more involvement second half after going central midfield, Dixon-Bonner pushing left.
Easy to see when he’s ‘better’ than other players but also easy to see where he must improve in consistency, minute-to-minute.
Takumi Minamino (on for Woltman, 46′) – 5 – On at the break for some trademark scurrying about.
Roberto Firmino (on for Dixon-Bonner, 63′) – 7 – Came on with a big beaming smile and then didn’t see him again until he backheeled in a goal to seal the win.
Melkamu Frauendorf (on for Gordon, 80′) – n/a – On for a senior Liverpool debut, well in lad.
Kostas Tsimikas (on for Robertson, 90′) – n/a – Played a minute.
James Norris (on for Morton, 90′) – n/a – Injury time debut!
Subs not used: Adrian, Matip, Mabaya, Balagizi
Jurgen Klopp – 8
Welcome back Jurgs! No need for Krawietz in the end as our boss made a welcome return to touchline duty – hopefully he’s feeling much better and ready for an energetic second half of the campaign.
Mixed up his line-up between guaranteed starters and absolute babies, handing out some debuts and expecting the same system and performance from all.
The tempo was pretty low and it’s fair to say there might have been a few more harsh words at the break had we not been (literally) handed a penalty, but there was rarely any reason to think the Reds wouldn’t win, even when behind.
Sensible subs and sent a No94 on to irritate the squad number purists.
Probably not much to read into this game in terms of future fixtures, but getting back to winning ways is always welcomed.