FA Cup: Critchley defends Liverpool boss Klopp over replay stance

Jurgen Klopp has come under fire for his approach to the FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury Town but Neil Critchley hailed the Liverpool boss.

Jurgen Klopp has put Under-23s manager Neil Critchley in charge of the fourth-round clash at Anfield.   -  Getty Images

Neil Critchley is unsure if Jurgen Klopp will have any input during Tuesday's FA Cup replay with Shrewsbury Town but has expressed his gratitude for the support the German gives Liverpool's youngsters.

Klopp has put Under-23s manager Critchley in charge of the fourth-round clash at Anfield and none of the Reds' senior squad – runaway Premier League leaders – will feature as the game falls within the top-flight's inaugural mid-season break.

The ex-Borussia Dortmund boss has come in for criticism both for delegating his duties to Critchley and only making "the kids" available after Shrewsbury came from two down to draw 2-2 and force a replay.

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Critchley, who oversaw a 5-0 EFL Cup quarterfinal thrashing at Aston Villa when the first team was on Club World Cup duty in December, defended Klopp on the eve of the match against the League One side.

"I think the manager has made it quite clear with the statement and what he said prior to the game," he said.

"He gives myself, the staff, the players unbelievable support. I can speak to him whenever I like when I'm down here, he supports the young players unbelievably well – as he's shown so far this season.

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"So his presence, even if he isn't there, is always felt by our younger players and by myself. I always think maybe one per cent that came into his thinking the way we played against Aston Villa, maybe thought the boys deserved an opportunity."

Critchley gave little away when asked if he will speak to Klopp on the night of the game.

"I don't know, I don't need to think about that at the moment," he added. "He did during the Aston Villa game, because he felt it was the right thing to do.

"We shall see, but I won't want to divulge too much information what we are going to do before and at half-time, because I can't guarantee that, I never know."


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