Earlier this season, back in hazy past of the before times, Liverpool travelled to Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup for a game that saw the the League One side earn a surprise draw against a mixed Reds squad coached by Jürgen Klopp.
Shrewsbury’s reward was a chance to head to Anfield for a replay, but Jürgen Klopp wasn’t there and neither were any his senior players as the game was played during the pre-scheduled, league mandated mid-season break.
This made Shrewsbury rather upset since the result was the game not being shown live in the UK, meaning a loss of potential revenue for them. So they made an official complaint to The FA. Which The FA has now dismissed.
“Jurgen Klopp ruined what should have been a wonderful moment for our club,” CEO Brian Caldwell wrote in a letter to Shrewsbury fans. “We struggled to believe that his statements had no effect on the replay being televised.
“We are convinced that LFC broke the FA Cup rules by not ‘fielding their strongest team’ in the return fixture which had a knock-on effect of STFC not getting anywhere near the financial rewards that were to be expected.
“This without doubt resulted in a much lesser occasion for our players and fans. In February we put a complaint in to the FA about the alleged rule breach but unfortunately and quite unexpectedly we were informed that this was dismissed.”
While it’s easy to sympathise with a lower league side feeling they lost out on a valuable payday, Liverpool had committed to giving the club’s senior players a week off in line with the league’s mandated mid-season break.
In the midst of a campaign that saw the Reds competing for seven trophies, the previously scheduled break was essential for the health and wellbeing of Liverpool’s players, and Klopp’s first priority was always going to be to them.
It’s also fair to say that Shrewsbury’s chances of advancing even further in the FA Cup were greatly boosted by Liverpool’s decision—and had they taken their chance to do just that, they would have received an even bigger payday.