As a young man who very much does not bask in the “magic of the cup” that the older generation love to reminisce over, I never even began to enjoy this game. Twenty minutes in, League One’s Shrewsbury Town had completed a grand total of twenty passes, and Curtis Jones’ opener looked like it might inspire a trouncing.
At this point my concern was more with the lack of an on-pitch contest rather than the woeful level of Liverpool performance that began to kill my interest as the game went on.
The hosts responded well to going behind, though, just as the world champions reacted terribly to taking the lead.
Jürgen Klopp’s side started misplacing passes and Adrián was called into action more often than should ever have been the case.
And yet, a freakish own-goal right at the start of the second period seemed to seal Liverpool’s place in the fifth round.
…except it ultimately didn’t.
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Shrewsbury continued to create opportunities, with Dejan Lovren and Joël Matip both looking like players who had not played a game in 2020, and eventually the home side’s pressure told.
Yasser Larouci was adjudged to have felled an attacker inside the box (wrongly, I should add) and substitute striker Jason Cummings converted.
After that, a ‘dramatic’ second felt inevitable. Both Lovren and Matip could be blamed for the equaliser. Take your pick.
Let’s get to the ratings.
Adri 7.5 — Couple of excellent stops, particularly when using his feet when left one-on-one in the first half.
Neco 6 — Started brightly but began to look uncomfortable with balls in behind him.
Das Giraffe 5 — His worst performance in well over a year. Clearly not match-fit, sure, but still a dismal showing.
Degsy 5.5 — Maybe very slightly better than his Cameroonian defensive partner, not that that’s saying much. Could be blamed for both goals. Played a very high number of passes on his weaker left foot, if that is of interest?
Larouci 6.5 — Unlucky to concede a penalty with a tackle which was outside of the box.
Fabs 5.5 — Add to the list of “very rusty, but played very badly”.
Pedro 6.5 — Great pass for the opener. Good on the ball, although his influence on the game could have been greater.
Harvey 5.5 — Harsh to criticise a 16-year-old, maybe, but this was by far his least impressive performance in a red shirt.
Taki 5.5 — Did not make enough of a mark against lower-league opposition, regardless of whether he may be new or not.
CJ 7 — Probably Liverpool’s most impressive starter. Runs from midfield proved fruitful for both goals scored.
Divvy 6 — Tested the Shrewsbury ‘keeper with multiple snapshots, but that should be the bare minimum in a tie like this.
Ox 6.5 — Audacious free-kick deflected wide.
Mo N/A — Header snuck wide in injury time.
Bobby N/A — Very lively few minutes. Might well have created a winner given five more.