I repeat, there are no Premier League fixtures this weekend. The FA Cup is in town. Let the giant killing begin. Liverpool will brave the hour and a half journey to Shrewsbury on Sunday, prepared to advance to the next round but maybe open to other outcomes.
Dig in deeper to the big match with these important questions. Why are we here? Where did we come from? Where are we going? Plenty of people ask these questions. Here we try to break free from the chains those people have tried to metaphorically shackle us with. Beyond their grasp we are able to open our minds and expand our thinking, tackling a limitless array of topics. An endless array of questions have now become available to us. But for obvious security reasons, here’s just the first five.
- Being the birthplace of Charles Darwin has its perks in Shrewsbury. There’s at least one statue of note to attract visitors to the town. Darwin’s childhood home remains, although it was handed over to the taxman some time ago. But never fear, efforts to turn the home into a museum slash profit turner are underway. Darwin was said to have gained his love of the natural world growing up on the Shrewsbury landscape. Still, like so many young adults through time he eventually left his hometown. Darwin spent all of his post-adventurous life on the outskirts of London, at Down House which remains today as a tourist destination. Speaking of evolution, in comparison, Jürgen Klopp has been transforming Liverpool’s fortunes at an alarming rate since taking over in 2015. The club won the Champions League last season, the Premier League trophy is nearly in Jordan Henderson’s hands. Winning the FA Cup isn’t a priority but progressing in the competition would quickly gather support. That goes double if Klopp fields an XI chock full of young players. What level of emotional investment are you prepared to sink into Liverpool beating Shrewsbury Town?
- Jürgen Klopp’s team sheet could go any which way for this one. There’s a Premier League match against West Ham on Wednesday. It’s the big game in hand everyone’s talking about. Klopp will want a strong team on the pitch at the London Stadium so he’ll try to rotate where he can at Shrewsbury. The front three could include Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino. Harvey Elliott could come in for Mohamed Salah. Curtis Jones or Pedro Chiravella could allow one of Jordan Henderson or Gini Wijnaldum to rest. That being said, Adam Lallana’s inclusion is probably already written down in pen. This feels like a classic Lallana moment. If you don’t know what that means, neither do I. What sort of team sheet are you hoping to see from Klopp on Sunday? Strong? Balanced with youth? Totally green?
- Any time there’s one of these FA Cup weekends I feel like I'm always the last to know. They sneak up on me somehow and I’m consistently bewildered at the barren Premier League fixture space on the calendar. Name a footballer, besides Phil Jones, who consistently appears bewildered. Small-sized gifs are welcome.
- The magic of the Cup is back. Only this time, it’s ever still less magic than last time. The FA Cup has dropped heavily in wonderment over the passed decade, or, at least for the top sides in the country. There’s too much at stake in the Premier League for managers to risk injuring players in the other domestic campaigns and, like the Carabao Cup, it’s an opportunity to weave young players into the team. Still, it’s a £30M reward to win the thing. If you’re Liverpool, what would you do with the £30M?
- Shrewsbury Town currently play their football in League One. They are 16th and performing marginally worse than Blackpool. Blackpool, who nearly couldn’t field a team a few seasons back and weren’t even paying the players they had available. The Oyston family were stripping the club of its cash and buying elaborately colored suits and feather-plumed hats. What’s the most outlandish, wearable item you bought yourself? Do you still wear it?