Shrewsbury Town expect the FA Cup tie with Liverpool will be played as planned as competition rules leave the door wide open for the squad to be made up of academy players.
With cases having continued to be recorded throughout the start of the week, the Reds’ ability to field a team against the League One side is questionable, to say the least.
But as it stands, the game is scheduled to go ahead at Anfield, and Shrewsbury chief executive Brian Caldwell is expecting academy players to feature amid injuries, AFCON absences and Covid cases in Jurgen Klopp‘s first team.
“That opens up more opportunities for Liverpool. If they want to play some of their under-23s if they’re short of players or whatever, they can do that.
“As far as we’re concerned, as it stands, the game is on as planned.
“It does make it slightly more awkward because you don’t know what team they’re going to play but at the end of the day, we probably wouldn’t have known what team would’ve played if everyone was available anyway.”
With the new cases running rife throughout the squad and staff remaining unnamed, it does leave plenty up in the air when speculating who could lineup for the Reds.
But there are six senior players who should be able to feature having either only recently returned from Covid or are on the cusp of their isolation coming to an end prior to Sunday.
The senior contingent would then need to be boosted by the likes of Kaide Gordon, Harvey Davies, James Balagizi, Harvey Blair and James Norris from the academy, negative tests permitting.
It, of course, wouldn’t be the first time youth has been turned to against Shrewsbury as Liverpool’s youngest-ever XI was fielded in the 1-0 win back in 2020.