Shrewsbury Town aren’t complaining but they definitely want you to know they would have received at least $650,000 extra had Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp decided to play his first team in their FA Cup fourth round replay at Anfield on Tuesday.
Klopp has taken the controversial decision to let his players jet away for the winter break and he will not manage Liverpool as they host third-tier Shrewsbury at Anfield. The boss of the runaway Premier League leaders explained that he will observe the winter break, the first one ever in the PL, and Liverpool’s U23 manager Neil Critchley will field what is essentially a U20 side.
Sam Ricketts, the manager of minnows Shrewsbury, was asked to sum up the financial impact that decision has made as the replay will not be broadcast live on TV and ticket prices have also been reduced for home fans.
“Huge, for someone like us, the way the game could have gone,” Ricketts said. “If you’re playing Liverpool’s first team, you’re generating £400,000, £500,000 or £600,000. On the back of this, it will be £100,000 to £150,000 or something like that. So, there is a massive difference there for a club like us where every penny counts. That’s the biggest disappointment for us, that we will lack the revenue from the replay that historically, Liverpool away, would generate the club. What we’re going to get, it’s two very different things. It’s probably half a million. But if you offered us a replay and £150,000, we’d have snatched your hand off.”
Ricketts added that Klopp apologized for announcing the first team would be off for the replay and didn’t want it to overshadow Shrewsbury fighting back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 and force a replay against a weakened Liverpool side. Klopp also spoke to the young manager for about 30 minutes after the game and was very generous with his time and Ricketts admitted he would do exactly the same as Klopp and would be ‘sat on a beach’ somewhere.
Should we feel sorry for Shrewsbury in this situation? Maybe a little but let’s flip this around. By playing a bunch of teenagers in the replay Liverpool are, in theory, massively increasing the chances that the Shrews will reach the fifth round and they will be heading to Stamford Bridge to play against Chelsea. That is when Shrewsbury will get their payday as that game will almost certainly by on TV.
Then again, we all know how well these teenagers played against Everton to win 1-0 in the FA Cup third round, so it is quite conceivable Liverpool’s reserve team will win the FA Cup this season.