The FA have dismissed Shrewsbury Town’s case against Liverpool for fielding a weakened squad against them in the FA Cup earlier this season. The Reds opted to leave the fixture against the League One minnows to the U23s squad and staff, with Jurgen Klopp and the senior squad prioritising the Premier League over an domestic cup replay.
This obviously had very little to do with the Shrews, and everything to do with Liverpool’s aspirations to win bigger honours on offer. There is actually an obligation clubs agree to in which they say they’ll field a competitive squad, but Shrewsbury weren’t happy with Klopp’s absence.
‘Immediately following the (initial) match, the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp ruined what should have been a wonderful moment for our Club by making public statements that he and all of his first-team would not attend the replay at Anfield, effectively ruining what should have been not just financially but for the players and fans a wonderful achievement and a very special occasion,‘ CEO Brian Caldwell is quoted as saying by the Shropshire Star.
‘We struggled to believe that his statements had no effect on the replay being televised and we are convinced that LFC broke the FA Cup rules by not ‘fielding their strongest team’ in the return fixture which had a knock-on effect of STFC not getting anywhere near the financial rewards that were to be expected from an FA Cup Fourth Round replay including a potential live TV fee against the World & European Champions and Premier League Champions (elect).‘
Naturally, we feel sorry for Shrewsbury if they were unable to rake in the benefits of playing Liverpool at Anfield, but the FA’s decision to dismiss their case reinforces Klopp’s decision to leave it to the U23s. Given the fact that Neil Critchley and the youthful team were able to eliminate the League One side, it’s hard to argue the Reds didn’t field a strong enough side.
A fairly unchanged team took on a strong Everton side in the following round of the FA Cup and knocked them out too, before getting eliminated by Chelsea – so it’s fair to say the kids are alright, and certainly suitable enough to take on a side well over 40 places beneath us.