Liverpool 4-1 Shrewsbury: Fabinho's double helps Reds avoid upset
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: Roberto Firmino of Liverpool celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 3-1 during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Liverpool and Shrewsbury Town at Anfield on January 9, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Seventeen-year-old Kaide Gordon etched his name into the Liverpool history books as he became the Reds' second-youngest ever scorer during a 4-1 FA Cup triumph over League One Shrewsbury.

Daniel Udoh sent the Salop's into dreamland after his first-half strike gave the League One side a shock lead.

However, Jurgen Klopp's men struck back with goals from Gordon and Fabinho before the interval.

Roberto Firmino marked his return from self-isolation with a cheeky backheel deep into the second-half before Fabinho grabbed his second of the game to book the Reds’ place in next month’s fourth round.

Story of the game

Klopp returned to the sidelines for his side’s FA Cup third-round tie after he had been forced to isolate after a positive Covid test ahead of the Reds’ trip to Chelsea last weekend. 

Klopp named a heavily-rotated side for the tie, with academy prospects Max Woltman, Elijah Dixon-Bonner and Gordon being handed their first Anfield starts, while Andy Robertson featured for the first time since his red card at Tottenham last month.

The League One side named a fairly strong side themselves, with Ethan Ebanks-Landell, former Everton defender, Matthew Pennington, David Davies and Udoh all getting the nod by manager Steve Cotterill. 

It was a quiet start to proceedings at Anfield as plenty of players who took to the field appeared to lack of rhythm.

The Reds enjoyed a large spell of the ball but due numerous unfamiliar faces out on the field it was a tentative start, with Ibrahima Konate heading Andy Robertson’s free-kick high over the crossbar in what was the best early chance.

The Kop wanted a penalty when 17-year-old Gordon went to ground  as George Nurse appeared to have placed his hands on the back of the teenager, though referee David Coote was uninterested. 

Shrewsbury showed signs of promise as they began to target the inexperienced due of Gordon and Conor Bradley on the right-hand side, as Nathanael Ogbeta made his presence clear.

Klopp’s men were handed another chance to grab the game’s opening goal as Robertson provided a delicious delivery for Virgil van Dijk to get his head to but - like Konate - he couldn’t keep his effort down.

Cotterill’s side soon got a reward for their brave play in the opening 27 minutes when Obgeta found himself in acres of space on the left-hand and picked out Udoh, who had run off the shoulder of Konate to send the 5,000 Salop fans into dreamland as he converted from close-range 

At least this week, Klopp was able to implement immediate changes from the comfort of the touchline rather than his Formby house, as he was unimpressed with the tempo his side were operating at.

The home side responded to the early setback with a sighter from Jones, as Klopp’s men had evidently upped the pace in which they moved the ball. 

And it would only be seven minutes later that Gordon would restore parity for his side and write his name into the club’s history books, as he became their second-youngest ever scorer - sandwiching himself between Ben Woodburn and Michael Owen. 

He was on-hand to meet - fellow under-23s team-mate - Bradley’s low-driven cross into the area before he displayed maturity beyond his years to touch the ball and set himself, before slotting it past Marko Marosi to level the scoreline for his side at Anfield.

No sooner after the League One side had conceded did they think they had restored their lead after Ryan Bowen raced behind to fire past Caoimhin Kelleher, only for the referee to chalk it off after a raised flag from his assistant. 

As the madness of the first-half began to evaporate, the Reds’ quality shone as they retained the ball superbly against their Football League opponents with a sustained spell of possession in their final-third.

After having earlier denied Klopp’s men a penalty, Coote was quick to point to the spot when Ethan Ebanks-Landell handled Robertson’s cross. And Fabinho made no mistake in converting from twelve yards in the absence of Mohamed Salah, sparing the Reds’ blushes going into half-time.

The game should have been put out of the reach of Cotterill’s men shortly after the interval but Dixon-Bonner’s effort from inside the box was equalled by the Marosi. 

Perhaps the loudest reception of the afternoon was given when the Kop rose to its feet as Firmino was introduced following a period of self-isolation.

It didn’t take the Brazilian long to make up for lost time as converted Konate’s scuffed effort with a cheeky backheel that outwitted Marosi in between the sticks, after some more great play from 18-year-old Bradley.

The icing was firmly put on the cake in stoppage time when Fabinho was on-hand to fire home from close-range, grabbing his second of the game.

Starting XI’s 

Liverpool: Kelleher, Bradley, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Morton, Fabinho, Dixon-Bonner; Gordon, Woltman, Jones

Shrewsbury: Marosi, Pennington, Ebanks-Landell, Nurse; Bennett, Veka, Davies, Leahy, Ogbeta; Bowman, Udoh.

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