Shrewsbury Town are out of the FA Cup after succumbing to a narrow defeat against Liverpool’s youngsters at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp will feel vindicated after Liverpool’s youngsters got the job done to set up a fifth-round tie against Chelsea.
Ro Shaun-Williams’ second half own goal proved to be the difference, with Shrewsbury left frustrated by VAR.
Shaun Whalley thought that he had put the visitors ahead, but the technology had other ideas.
Sam Ricketts made one enforced change from the side that featured in the original tie. Dave Edwards replaced Ollie Norburn who is struggling with a knee problem.
Kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes due to congestion on the motorway, and when the game commenced it was all one-way traffic.
Liverpool were retaining possession with ease, pinging the ball around and forcing Shrewsbury into retreating. However, the youngsters failed to test Max O’Leary early on.
The first meaningful opportunity arrived in the 25th minute. Curtis Jones’ free-kick was comfortably gathered by Max O’Leary.
The home side continued to press. Liam Miller’s fierce cross was punched to safety by Max O’Leary, as Liverpool moved up a gear.
Then, Neco Williams engineered himself some room on the right angle of the box, His low drive just escaped the target.
Liverpool had the better of the second half. A cross bounced awkwardly inside the box, and Neco Williams lashed a volley over the bar from roughly 12 yards out.
Shrewsbury finally caused problems of their own. Callum Lang nutmegged an opponent and manoeuvred into the penalty area, he hit the deck, but the referee declined to award a penalty.
At the other end, Harvey Elliott weaved one way and then another. He turned possession over to Neco Williams, and the full-back was denied by a smart O’Leary save.
Just before the hour mark, Shrewsbury thought they had nudged themselves ahead. Dan Udoh’s low cross was met by Dave Edward who was thwarted by Kelleher, but Whalley was on hand to turn home. Unfortunately, VAR ruled it out for an offside in the build-up.
The visitors did appear galvanised though. Kelleher left his post to try and clear a long ball, but Shaun Whalley stole a march. The boyhood Liverpool fan was unable to find the empty net from long distance.
Shrewsbury were enjoying a much better spell in the contest. Shaun Whalley’s perseverance down the left flank led to a dangerous cross but there were no takers. Dan Udoh spun inside the box and struck an effort a whisker wide.
Disaster struck for Sam Ricketts’ side with fifteen minutes of normal time remaining. A hopeful punt up field saw Max O’Leary race off his line, and Ro Shaun-Williams looped a header over his own goalkeeper to give the Reds the lead.
Whilst the own goal would prove to be enough, Town had an almighty chance to rescue the tie. Jason Cummings was causing a nuisance in the box, and the ball fell kindly to Josh Laurent who volleyed over.
Shrewsbury face MK Dons at the weekend, whilst Liverpool’s youngsters will return to U23 duty to battle Sunderland on Sunday.
Team Line Ups
62. Kelleher, 70. Williams, 51. Hoever, 72. Van den Berg, 46. Lewis, 84. Clarkson (92), 68. Chirivella, 80. Cain, 67. Elliott (94), 49, Miller (82), 48, Jones
Subs: 53. Hardy (82), 56. Gallacher, 69. Dixon-Bonner (94), 77. Boyes (92), 81. Bearne, 93. Norris,
Subs Not Used: 56. Gallacher, 81. Bearne, 93. Morris
Shrewsbury Town: (4-3-3)
25. O’Leary, 17. Love, 24. Ebanks-Landell, 5. Williams, 3. Golbourne, 2. Pierre, 4. Edwards, 28. Laurent, 7. Whalley (82), 9. Lang (57), 22. Goss (74)
Subs: 1. Murphy, 6. Beckles, 12. Sears, 15. Walker (82), 23. Udoh (57), 35. Cummings (74), 42. Hart
Subs Not Used: 1. Murphy, 6. Beckles, 12. Sears, 42. Hart