Liverpool
1-0 Shrewsbury Town: Youngest side in Reds' history earn famous win to set up
FA Cup fifth-round tie against Chelsea
(Photo by John Powell/Getty Images)

Liverpool youngsters replicated the ‘mentality giant’ attitude displayed by the first team after dispatching League One Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup.

The visitors were denied their moment of glory at Anfield as a headed goal from boyhood Red Shaun Whalley was ruled out by VAR just after the hour.

Ex-Manchester United youngster Ro-Shaun Williams scored an own goal forced by a Trent-like cross from Neco Williams on the 75-minute mark to earn the Reds a place in the next round.

The World Champions travel to Stamford Bridge in the first week of March to face Frank Lampard’s Chelsea in the fifth round of the competition.

  • Story of the game

Neco Williams had the first real chance of the game just after the 30-minute mark but his effort just whizzed past Max O’Leary’s right-hand post.

The Reds' first chance of the second period came again to Williams after a smart pass from Harvey Elliot found the full-back with time and space but his low driven effort was saved by the feet of O’Leary at the Kop end.

Against the run of play, the visitors had the ball in the back of Caoimhín Kelleher’s net courtesy of a Shaun Whalley header. The goal was met with absolute pandemonium from the travelling Shrewsbury fans but they soon fell victim to a VAR decision.

In the build-up to Whalley’s goal, VAR had deemed substitute Daniel Udoh to be offside, leaving the Shrews with the embarrassment of seeing a blue flare being taken off the field as the game restarted at 0-0.

Udoh came agonisingly close to putting the visitors in front shortly after the VAR fiasco but his effort went just wide of Kelleher’s post.  

Liverpool’s captain for the night and the youngest in the club's history, Curtis Jones, nearly produced a real moment of magic after a looping ball from Pedro Chirivella found the Toxteth-born midfielder inside the box but he couldn’t convert.

Neil Critchley’s side went ahead after ex-Manchester United trainee Ro-Shaun Williams headed an impressive Neco Williams cross over his keeper and into the net at the Kop end.

All Manchester United academy players dream of scoring the decisive goal at the Kop end but for Williams it was in the wrong net.

In the 90th minute, the Reds should have had another but a poor pass from Elliot into the path of substitute Joe Hardy was intercepted by an on-rushing Max O’Leary.

That was all she wrote in this tie, with Neil Critchley’s young Liverpool side stepping up to the big occasion when it really mattered.

  • ‘You can’t win anything with kids’ – How wrong was Alan Hansen!

The young Reds produced a brilliant performance when the eyes of the world were watching and waiting to dig into the club for fielding such an inexperienced line-up in the world's oldest cup competition.

With Chirivella being the most experienced head on the pitch, at 22 years-young, the Spaniard dictated the game and is doing himself no harm as he chases a contract extension. His partnership with Leighton Clarkson (18) and Jake Cain (18) proved to be the perfect balance with the trio showcasing great technical ability on the ball as well an abundance of energy to tire out the League One outfit.

Harvey Elliot and Curtis Jones were brilliant again and looked a class above at times with their intricate passing and flair on the ball making them an absolute joy to watch.

Even at the back the young Reds were brilliant. Calm, cool and collected. Sepp Van den Berg dominated in the air in his central partnership with fellow Dutch prospect Ki-Jana Hoever. A clean sheet and a win, every defender's dream.

  • Man of the match

Neco Williams takes the MOTM award after a sensational display. The young full-back was constantly up and down the right-hand side of the pitch.

He produced a Trent-like performance with a solid defensive game and an even better offensive one.

The Welsh under-19 international came close on numerous occasions in front of goal and despite not converting, it's just as important at his age that he is getting in the right positions to receive the ball. 

With more time on the training field with the best coach in the world, Jürgen Klopp, Williams will be an unstoppable force.

Of course, he is not the finished article, but Williams was outstanding tonight and truly deserves this MOTM award.

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