Liverpool vs Shrewsbury Preview: Youthful Reds look to book Chelsea meeting
(Photo by Richard Martin-Roberts - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Liverpool's Under-23s will be responsible for ensuring the Reds' progress into Round Five of the FA Cup when they take-on Shrewsbury at Anfield on Tuesday night.

Jurgen Klopp has divided opinion by handing the reins to youth team boss Neil Critchley and his players, insisting that the senior group enjoy a full winter break.

They looked to have one foot in the last 16 when they went two goals up in the game at New Meadow. 

However, with Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Fabinho looking out of sorts on their return from injury, Shrewsbury found gaps in the defence, and substitute Jason Cummings scored twice as they produced a memorable comeback.

They will now be quietly confident of beating the inexperienced Reds and setting up a trip to Chelsea who, incidentally, are the last English side to win at Anfield having run out 2-1 winners in a League Cup game in September 2018.

What will the Liverpool team look like?

Third-choice 'keeper Caoimhin Kelleher, who kept a clean sheet against MK Dons in the League Cup before shipping five against both Arsenal and Aston Villa, is likely to be handed another opportunity between the sticks.

Neco Williams will keep his place at right-back from the sides' first meeting, but there will be a change on the left after an injury to Yasser Larouci. Adam Lewis should be drafted in. 

Dutch duo Ki-Jana Hoever and Sepp van den Berg will likely start as the centre-backs, but Morgan Boyes, who played against Villa and recently extended his contract, is also in contention.

In midfield, Pedro Chirivella is expected to feature once again, potentially alongside Jake Cain and Leighton Clarkson, both 18, as per the prediction of the Evening Standard's David Lynch.

Curtis Jones, scorer in both rounds, will be partnered with the equally exciting Harvey Elliott on the flanks.

Joe Hardy, a January arrival from Brentford, is tipped to lead the line after two goals in his first two matches.

Left-back Tony Gallacher, attacking midfielder Luis Longstaff and wider player Thomas Hill might get the chance to build on their respective debuts at Villa.

A number of those involved will already have had experience facing third-tier opposition competitively this season.

Liverpool's Under-21s met Fleetwood and Accrington Stanley in the EFL Trophy, losing to the former on penalties before going down 5-2 to the latter.

As for Shrewsbury, few changes can be expected from last month's clash. 

They added promising Southampton defender Kayne Ramsay to their ranks on loan in the latter part of the transfer window, but he is unavailable. 

The view from the dugout

As he prepares to take charge of Liverpool for the second time this season, Critchley is anticipating a close-fought contest.

He also suggested there is more pressure on the visitors this time around.

"They deserve their replay because of the way they performed," he said in his pre-match press conference, as quoted by liverpoolfc.com. "The boss said after they were fully deserving of the result on the evening.

"To be 2-0 down and stay in the game, to come back, they created a lot of problems for us. I’m sure they’ll be thinking of something similar tomorrow night.

"Obviously we’re going to have a different team. I think the expectation maybe for them is different coming into the game, playing against the team they are going to be facing.

"That’s why I think it makes it such an intriguing, exciting cup tie – because there’s a bit of the unknown around the game."

Opposite number Sam Ricketts believes that the intensity which characterises the Liverpool first-team will prove to be pervasive.

As a result, there is no room for any complacency.

"This will be a game that the players will certainly be ready for," he said. "When you play against a side like Liverpool, it doesn’t matter who plays - they will play exactly the same way.

"They will have the same principles when in possession and when out of possession, it will just be different lads in different slots. A lot of due-diligence for this game has already been done.

"We are going away from home to Anfield, the occasion will be fantastic. It will be a big occasion for the Liverpool players if they do change the team around. They won't have played in a packed Anfield in a proper competitive game."

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