Jurgen Klopp isn’t breaking from his vacation to sit in the dugout at Anfield during Tuesday’s FA Cup match with Shrewsbury Town, but he’ll be watching just as he did in December’s League Cup outing.
Liverpool is fielding a youth side in another domestic cup round. In December, it was because the club had Club World Cup duty in a few days and Klopp didn’t want to break up his squad.
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This time around, the replay falls during the Premier League’s winter break for Liverpool and Klopp’s Reds weren’t willing to miss out on time off during a grueling campaign.
Whether you approve of that or not, it’s happening.
And so U-23 boss Neil Critchley will be in the dugout while a mostly teenage side tries to deal with League One opposition under the bright lights of Anfield.
He and the boys may even get a call from a watching Klopp, who rang up the team room at halftime of the 5-0 loss to Aston Villa.
“Even though we were going off the pitch at half-time thinking, ‘We’ve played all right there but we’re getting beat 4-0’, it creates that element of doubt in your mind about whether you are doing the right thing and if you need to do something different.
“So when you get a message from the manager saying, ‘Don’t change anything, carry on doing what you’re doing, you’ve been brilliant’, it just clears all that doubt in your mind and you can give that message to the players.”
It’s a little bit different this time; It felt like the majority of people were on Liverpool’s side over the first scheduling hiccup, as surely FIFA or the FA could’ve helped a bit more.
Klopp calling from the road was very much an, “I still see you” bit of recognition. And even if many believe Klopp is in the wrong to not oversee his youngsters on Tuesday, the kids aren’t going to hold him in any less high regard. Who knows? Maybe another phone call will do the trick and lead to a victory.Follow @NicholasMendola