Liverpool U-23 boss Neil Critchley oversaw a dominant performance from his senior player-free squad in a 1-0 FA Cup defeat of Shrewsbury Town.
He was in the dugout watching a number of debutants control the League One side because Jurgen Klopp refused to change his club’s winter break plans.
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It was a controversial choice, but the kids made sure it looked like a stroke of genius.
Critchley was sure to credit the big boss Jurgen for his pre-, halftime, and post-match comments.
“Jurgen gives you clarity and belief. “Play the Liverpool way!” This is us, this is what we do, what we stand for, what we believe in and you better be ready for it. From the first minute, I think we did that.”
It also helps that Critchley got a hand from one of the on-break senior players.
James Milner, he of the 721 career senior appearances, was keeping himself fit and asked if he could train with the kids and spend the matchday with them.
“He was very respectful to ask, he asked if he could come in the dressing room. ‘Of course!’ He’s achieved so much in the game. He was giving words of advice to the players, he was vocal in the dressing room. I can’t thank him enough. He’s not available yet but he was certainly jumping up and down behind me, itching to get back.”
And now Liverpool is alive for more silverware, with a trip to Chelsea ahead.
It’s a bit too easy to heap praise on risks when they pay off, but this does truly seems like an example of why Liverpool as a club is succeeding in so many areas. Milner’s class. Klopp is class. And obviously the U-23 coach knows what he’s doing as well.Follow @NicholasMendola