All senior players, Klopp to miss Liverpool’s FA Cup replay

Jurgen Klopp says it will be the Under-23s who play that game. (Reuters pic)

LONDON: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed he will not take charge of the Reds’ FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury, nor will any senior players from the European champions take part.

Klopp made 11 changes as the League One side, 59 places below Liverpool in the English football pyramid, came from 2-0 down to secure a replay at Anfield on Sunday.

However, the German did still include a handful of experienced players such as Adrian, Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Fabinho and Divock Origi.

Even they are set to miss the replay as it falls a few days into Liverpool’s two-week winter break from Premier League action.

Klopp said he has already promised that week off to first-team players and that Under-23s coach Neil Critchley will take charge of team.

“In April 2019, we got a letter from the Premier League where they asked us to respect the winter break, not to organise international friendlies and not to organise competitive games in respect of it,” said Klopp.

“I have said to the boys already, two weeks ago, that we will have a winter break, so it means we will not be there — it will be the kids who play that game because they cannot deal with us like nobody cares about it.

“I know it is not very popular, but that’s the way I see it and, how I said, the Premier League asked us to respect the winter break and that’s what we do it. If then the FA do not respect it then we cannot change.”

Liverpool went out of the League Cup in December when a team fielding five debutants and an average age of 19 was beaten 5-0 by Aston Villa.

Critchley was also in charge for that game with Klopp and the first team away in Qatar for the Club World Cup.

The move by Klopp puts further pressure on the Football Association to do away with replays from the FA Cup.

For the first time this season all fifth round matches will be played midweek and go straight to extra-time if they finish in a draw.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has also called for an end to replays, while Brentford coach Thomas Frank said he would have done everything in his power to ensure his side’s 1-0 defeat to Leicester on Saturday did not end in a draw.

“I think that is part of killing one of the finest cup tournaments in the world,” said Frank. “They can kill it a little bit with replays. I don’t get it.”