Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed he will not take charge of his side's FA Cup fourth-round replay against Shrewsbury Town, with Neil Critchley to lead a young squad.
Jason Cummings came off the bench to score twice on Sunday, earning a 2-2 draw that means League One side Shrewsbury will play a lucrative replay at Anfield early next month.
That game is set to fall within the Premier League's inaugural mid-season break, with Klopp having previously promised his senior stars they would get time off to recover ahead of the run-in.
That means Critchley will be in the dugout, the Liverpool Under-23s coach having overseen an EFL Cup exit to Aston Villa earlier in the season when the Reds were on Club World Cup duty.
"Look, our situation is the following: we have known that for a couple of weeks it is like this," Klopp told a news conference.
"Actually, we knew it a bit longer because it was always clear when we came through into the next round it would be like this.
"In April 2019, we got a letter from the Premier League where they asked us to respect the winter break, not to organise international friendlies and not to organise competitive games in respect of it.
"I have said to the boys already, two weeks ago, that we will have a winter break, so it means we will not be there – it will be the kids who play that game because they cannot deal with us like nobody cares about it.
"I know it is not very popular, but that’s the way I see it and, how I said, the Premier League asked us to respect the winter break and that’s what we do it. If then the FA [Football Association] do not respect it then we cannot change.
"But we [the first-team squad and staff] will not be there."
Klopp explained he plans to give his team a week's rest, during which it will undergo individual training regimes away from Melwood in order to stay fit.
He added: "That's what the winter break is about and then another competition tells us it's not that important, so we had to make these decisions before because the boys have family.
"And the international players like Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, Gini Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, all these guys they have never [time] off so this is the week.
"I said in the moment it was clear there would be a winter break months ago, before I knew the FA Cup could come in between, then we would respect it and we do."
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