Liverpool host Shrewsbury Town at Anfield for their FA Cup fourth-round replay on Tuesday evening. The League One side earned a trip to Liverpool after holding the Premier League champions-elect to a 2-2 draw. However, it will be a much-changed Liverpool side with Jurgen Klopp airing his frustrations over the game taking place during the winter break. As a result, Neil Critchley will lead his U23s into an FA Cup tie as he did in December for the Carabao Cup, with new signing Joe Hardy set to make his debut.
Joe Hardy to Make His Liverpool Debut Against Shrewsbury Town
Joe Hardy to Lead the Line
The signing from Brentford has consistently impressed for the U23s since signing for the club. He is set to lead the line in the FA Cup in a much-changed starting 11. Hardy is arguably the most senior striker available to Critchley, especially given that Rhian Brewster has departed on loan to Swansea City.
He will be flanked by Harvey Elliot and Curtis Jones. The latter seems to be on a one-man mission to win the cup for Liverpool, having scored against both Everton and last time out against Shrewsbury. A youthful Liverpool side will be able to play without the pressure of expectation, though this game would seem ideal for fringe attackers like Takumi Minamino and Xherdan Shaqiri to get some minutes under their belt. Klopp is sticking to his guns though, so the youngsters are likely to be given a run.
A Youthful Midfield
Liverpool are blessed with a wealth of midfield options, with players such as Naby Keita and Adam Lallana often being relegated to bench duty. They won’t be seeing much game time for the rest of the season, either, unless the youngsters triumph over Shrewsbury.
Critchley will likely start a midfield of Pedro Chirivella, Leighton Clarkson and Luis Longstaff. All three will know that impressive showings here could lead to more opportunities for the first team.
All Change at the Back
It would seem a little harsh on Adrian to not give him the FA Cup game he would feel entitled to. Defeat at Anfield could mean that he doesn’t feature again for the remainder of the season, though Caohmin Kelleher is expected to start in goal.
There will be a change of personnel in defence too. Neco Williams will retain his place from the away game, though Adam Lewis is expected to make his debut at left-back. This is because Yasser Larouci, who gave away a penalty last time, is an injury doubt. Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip will also be rested, with Ki-Jana Hoever and Sepp van den Berg coming in at centre back.
Predicted XI: Caohmin Kelleher; Adam Lewis, Sepp van den Berg, Ki-Jana Hoever, Neco Williams; Pedro Chirivella, Luis Longstaff, Leighton Clarkson; Harvey Elliot, Joe Hardy, Curtis Jones