Liverpool are forced to contest a FA Cup Fourth Round replay after Shrewsbury Town came from two goals down to draw 2-2 against the world champions. A first-half Curtis Jones strike as well as an own goal put the Reds two ahead before Salop made a comeback.
It was far from the performance level that we have become accustomed to seeing week in, week out. Dejan Lovren and Joël Matip — both of whom are recently back from injury — were shaky and unorganised in the Liverpool back line, allowing the Shropshire side chances. Fabinho also showed a lack of match fitness after returning from the a spell on the sidelines.
While a few of the first team members put in below-par performances, Curtis Jones continued to show the form that has fans dreaming of another Scouse midfielder breaking into the side. The youngster was the best outfield player for the Reds and was constantly looking for runs in behind the League One side’s defence.
The last time the Englishman played in the FA Cup he got on the scoresheet and this time was no different. The 19-year-old took his goal with confidence and composure after finding himself behind the home team’s back line following Pedro Chirivella’s pinpoint pass. He took a left-footed shot that was enough to beat ‘keeper Max O’Leary to make it 1-0.
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Jones was great going forward and had two shots on target throughout the game. However, he also had defensive work to do — the No.48 won six defensive duels and made three clearances at the New Meadow.
Jürgen Klopp will be frustrated with a majority of his players but Curtis Jones shouldn’t be one of them. He scored a goal and his overall play was up to the standard expected of a Liverpool player.
Jones will be disappointed his side came away with a replay fixture but he could possibly play for Neil Critchley’s u23 side in the return game. Klopp has controversially stated no first-team players will be involved in the replay due the winter break, which gives an opportunity for Jones and the other Liverpool youth players to make a mark and potentially force their way up into the side.
The FA Cup is another trophy that Liverpool can add to their cabinet so hopefully the u23s can get the job done and put the Reds into the next round, where they would face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.