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Klopp won't manage FA Cup replay as Liverpool U-23s will take on Shrewsbury

9:15 PM WAT 26/01/2020
Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Shrewsbury FA Cup
The Reds boss will send Under-23 coach Neil Critchley to Anfield in his stead in order to respect the Premier League's winter break

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that he will send an under-23 team to play the FA Cup fourth round replay against Shrewsbury Town. 

The Reds seemed likely to enjoy a comfortable afternoon at the New Meadow on Sunday as they lined up against League One opposition. 

But despite leading 2-0 with less than a half-hour to play thanks to Curtis Jones' goal and Donald Love putting through his own net, they could not hold on for victory. 

Shrewsbury supersub Jason Cummings came off the bench to score twice and earn the hosts a 2-2 draw, provoking wild celebrations at the New Meadow. 

A rematch at Anfield, however, was the last thing Liverpool needed as they battle fixture congestion due to their commitments on multiple fronts. 

The clash, moreover, falls in the middle of the Premier League's February 'winter break', and Klopp plans to respect that rest period by missing the game along with his starters.

"Our situation is the following. We've known for a couple of weeks, in fact we've known longer, that it would be like this," he told BBC Sport

“In April 2019 we got a letter from the Premier League, I think, where they asked us to respect the winter break and not to organise international friendlies or competitive games. We respect that.

“So I said to the boys already two weeks ago that we will have a winter break which means we will not be there. It will be the kids who play that game.

“You cannot deal with us like nobody cares about it. I know that it's not very popular but that's the way I see it.

“The Premier League asked us to respect the winter break. That's what we do. If the FA doesn't respect that, then we cannot change it. We will not be there.

“Does that mean I won't be there? Yes. [U-23 coach] Neil Critchley will be in charge."

Klopp went on to underline the importance of a break for his players, who in addition to domestic competition and the Champions League in 2019-20 also travelled to Qatar to compete in the Club World Cup. 

“It's only in this country you ask this question. It's a winter break – what do you think?!" He answered when asked if the recess was necessary.

“We have to respect the players' welfare. They need a rest. They need a mental rest, a physical rest, and that's what the winter break is all about.

“Then another competition tells us that's not so important so we had to make these decisions beforehand because these boys have families.

“International players like Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, Gini Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, all these guys, they are never off.

“This is the week I said in the moment it's clear there would be a winter break months ago, before I knew the FA Cup replay could come in between, that it would be a winter break. We will respect that and we will do that.

“The players will have one week off. They don't have it 'off', they will train but they will train for themselves. They have running programmes, they have fitness programmes, that's what they do.

“They never have 'off'. But they don't come to Melwood and they don't play a football game."