PREVIEW | Shrewsbury Town v Liverpool (FA Cup)

Liverpool continue their FA Cup campaign when they travel to face League One side Shrewsbury Town.

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Both of these sides progressed through the previous round somewhat unexpectedly — Liverpool fielded a young side and the Shrews faced Championship opposition in the form of Bristol City. Tomorrow both will take to the field to battle for a place in the Fifth Round.

Shrewsbury pulled off an upset by beating Bristol City, who themselves are eyeing promotion to the Premier League. After drawing the initial tie, they eventually progressed thanks to a last-minute winner. This victory meant that these two teams will meet for only the second time in their history.

An unde-strength Liverpool side beat Everton in the last round. A peach of a goal from local boy Curtis Jones proved to be the difference between the two sides. Many of Liverpool’s fringe players impressed in the match as they proved to the City that the best two clubs from Liverpool played in Red.

Recent form

Shrewsbury sit in a relatively comfortable position in League One, having amassed 34 points which places them nine points above the relegation zone. They also have two games in hand over 20th-placed team MK Dons.

Their recent form has been very poor, having not been on the winning side of a match since the 21st of December. Since then they have drawn three of their five games and have conceded two goals on three of those occasions.

Their last three league games have seen them face teams who are placed 10th to 12th in the table. Against Fleetwood they took the lead twice but were pegged back on both occasions. They were ahead for just 17 minutes, and in their previous match again they were held to a draw despite taking the lead.


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Their two matches against Bristol were evenly contested — in the first match they came back from a goal down, with a well-placed effort from Goss enough to force a replay. The replay looked to be heading to extra time with both teams failing to score. Aaron Pierre had other ideas, and the centre back struck fiercely to set up a tie against the European Champions.

Many of Liverpool’s players will come from the u23 side who have had varying levels of success over their past three games. Harvey Elliott, Pedro Chirivella, Neco Williams and Curtis Jones featured only once in those three games.

A 5-0 win over Southampton in Premier League 2 showcased the Reds’ strengthening youth network. Elliott and Jones both found the back of the net. Williams got an assist for Liverpool’s fifth goal while many other players may find themselves on the bench after an impressive team performance.

The four players mentioned before all shone during the 90, with the first team experience gained over the past couple of months coming home to roost. If they continue to perform the way they have then they will certainly gain a lot more first team minutes during the latter stages of the Premier League season.

Team news

Sam Ricketts will field a full-strength side to give his side as much chance to progress to the next round. The ex-Wolves player has been the manager of the club for just over a year — he managed to keep the club in League One from a perilous position after his appointment in December 2018.

Jack Sears is the only player unavailable due to a long-term knee injury, with Ricketts having an otherwise full squad to pick from in the pursuit of another upset.

Max O’Leary will start in goal. The 22-year-old has nine cleans sheets in 29 league games.

Like many teams Liverpool have faced this season, Shrewsbury will likely field a back five. Aaron Pierre, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Ro-Shaun Williams will be supported on either wing by Scott Golbourne and Donald Love.

In central midfield will likely be Sean Goss, Dave Edwards and Ollie Norburn. Goss is the more creative of the trio and will look to dictate play, while Norburn and Edwards will help with defensive duties. The pair are quite athletic and should be able to keep up with Liverpool’s tempo.

Up front, Callum Lang and Jason Cummings will look to cause an inexperienced Liverpool defence problems.

Jürgen Klopp will field a stronger team to the one that beat Everton, more experienced players may start as they are returning from injury and need game time.

Adrián will keep his place in side as will Neco Williams. Joël Matip will start next to either Ki-Jana Hoever or Dejan Lovren, depending on the Croat’s fitness. Yasser Larouci will start at left-back as he looks to build on an impressive albeit cautious performance against Everton.

Naby Keïta is in contention to start but Fabinho will likely partner Pedro Chirivella in midfield. Takumi Minamino will make his second Liverpool start, joined by Divock Origi and impressive young stars Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott.

Prediction

Liverpool were the underdogs in the previous round due to fielding a weakened team, but survived an early Everton onslaught to claim the somewhat surprising victory. An abject second half display from the Blues, combined with a growing Red confidence following Jones’ wonder strike, allowed Liverpool to win the game at a relative procession in the end.

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The pressure will be on now, though this Liverpool team seems immune to the effects of that feeling. With all due respect to Shrewsbury, the Liverpool side who dispatched Everton should easily achieve the same feat in this round.

Talented, hungry youngsters — supplemented by experience — should offer the platform for Liverpool to win by a healthy margin.

Predicted final score: Shrewsbury Town 0-4 Liverpool

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