Football

Juergen Klopp criticised for skipping FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp's confirmation that he will not take charge of the Reds' FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury Town was not well received.

Yesterday morning's (Singapore time) 2-2 draw with the Shrews at New Meadow means the Reds will face a fourth-round replay at Anfield on Feb 4, during Liverpool's winter break.

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

Said Klopp: "In April 2019, we got a letter from the English 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.

"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.

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

Accrington Stanley's owner Andy Holt responded, accusing Klopp of lacking respect. Like the Shrews, Accrington play in the third tier.

Holt said on Twitter: "He's a disgrace. I'll never understand why top clubs and top Premier League players don't stand up and stay united with clubs and players further down the pyramid.

"This is pure selfishness of the highest degree. I'd drag myself out of bed to play the replay. Because it's the right thing to do...

" You're killing the FA Cup."

Former Reds midfielder Danny Murphy, meanwhile, insisted Klopp should manage a second-string Reds side, even if his stars are away.

He told talkSPORT: "I'm completely with Juergen Klopp in protecting his players... But I think he should be there.

" I don't think there's any reason for him not to be there...

"As the manager, the impact of being there for those younger lads who play on the day is massive... It would make a difference to their performance.

"A part of his thinking may be that he doesn't want to overshadow Critchley and what he's doing with those young players… but I don't think it would."

Murphy's former teammate Jamie Carragher agreed, tweeting: "Senior players having a winter break is right, you can't implement one and then have a replay in the break.

"But Klopp should take the team, his young players will be delighted."

Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts, however, was more sympathetic.

He said: "I fully understand Liverpool's position, they are fighting on all fronts for trophies and every three days they are there to get shot at.

"This was our cup final and we will have another one at Anfield, whereas for Liverpool, it is just another day."

Football