As with the League Cup tie against Aston Villa back in December, today’s FA Cup fourth round replay against Shrewsbury Town is something of a conundrum. In theory, on paper, it’s a first team match. But in practice, it’s going to be the U23s.
The kids, at Anfield, with the stadium sold out (again, at least on paper) in a match that could have a real impact in whether the senior Reds lift a(nother) trophy this season. It’s a bit of an odd one. Oh, and Curtis Jones is going to be the captain.
“Self-belief is probably not one of his weaknesses, but that is also why he is who he is,” manager Neil Critchley noted of Jones, who will become the club’s youngest ever captain when the 19-year-old Scouser leads the side out of the tunnel.
Critchley had also considered giving the armband to U23 old hand Pedro Chirivella, but the chance for a history-making turn for the local lad proved too good a storyline for the reserve manager to pass up and meant Jones will get the armband.
“He’ll be looking forward to the game tomorrow, make no doubt about that,” Critchley added. “I think a few of the other players will be as well. They’ve had some experience of these types of game this season: Arsenal, Everton, Aston Villa.
“So I think that little bit of experience will help, even though it’s maybe ridiculous to talk about experience when Curtis has only turned 19 and we’re going to have players who are eligible to play in the under-18s.”