Liverpool vs Shrewsbury: CEO makes admission if FA Cup game will go ahead amid talk of postponement

Liverpool have had a Covid-19 outbreak which caused their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal to be postponed.

Shrewsbury Town chief executive Brian Caldwell expects Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie against Liverpool to go ahead as planned.

There has been talk that the Anfield clash will be postponed after a Covid-19 outbreak in the Reds’ camp.

Will Liverpool vs Shrewsbury be on?

Liverpool were forced to cancel their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg away to Arsenal this evening after being left short of numbers.

The Reds did not have 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper available for the game due to players in self-isolation and injuries, along Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita jetting off the the African Cup of Nations.

Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip all missed last Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea because they were self-isolating, along with manager Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool have shut down their Kirkby-based training ground due to the surge in cases around the squad, with assistant-boss Pep Lijnders too testing positive.

Naturally, their FA Cup encounter with the Shrews has been cast into doubt.

But Caldwell says, as things stand, the game and Klopp is able to play youngsters from the under-23s and under-18s to field a team.

Speaking to BBC Shropshire, Caldwell said: “We have dialogue with the FA in the lead up to every FA Cup match.

“What we’re being told is the game is on, as things stand, right now. The rules are slightly different in the FA Cup to the Carabao Cup and Premier League.

“There is a squad list in the Premier League and the Carabao Cup. They have to pick players from that but in the FA Cup you can pick any registered player.

“That opens up more opportunities for Liverpool. If they want to play some of their under-23s of whatever, they can do that.

“As far as we’re concerned, the game is on as planned.”

FA statement

If clubs cannot fulfil fixtures they should inform the FA “at the earliest opportunity” for the Professional Game Board to consider a postponement.

The statement said: “Clubs competing in the 2021/22 Emirates FA Cup are expected to participate in fixtures as they are currently scheduled.

“However, if a club does not have the sufficient number of eligible players available due to COVID-19, this should be reported to The FA at the earliest opportunity and would be referred to the Professional Game Board for consideration.

“Replays have been removed in both the Third and Fourth rounds of the 2021/22 Emirates FA Cup to alleviate the possibility of fixture congestion following several postponements in recent weeks and continued uncertainty ahead due to Covid-19.”

Youngsters at the ready

When Liverpool played Shrewsbury in an FA Cup fourth-round replay two seasons ago, the team completely was made up of under-23s and under-18s players.

The likes of Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Neco Williams and Caoimhin Kelleher all featured, with then under-23s manager Neil Critchley overseeing the 1-0 victory.

If Klopp is short of first-team players, he may have to call on the fledgling talents in the Reds’ ranks.

Youngsters such as Tyler Morton, Conor Bradley, Kaide Gordon, Harvey Blair, Owen Beck and Max Woltman have all been handed first-team minutes this season.