'Klopp ruined FA Cup tie and I'm convinced Liverpool broke the rules' - Shrewsbury chairman Caldwell unhappy after investigation rules in Reds' favour


Shrewsbury Town chief executive Brian Caldwell has hit out at Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool, accusing the Reds of breaching FA Cup rules while costing the League One club money in the process.

Liverpool and Shrewsbury faced off in the FA Cup in January, with the lower-league side coming from behind to erase a 2-0 deficit to secure a draw and, more importantly, a replay at Anfield.

However, with Liverpool's focus elsewhere, Klopp immediately announced that he and his senior players would not take part in that replay , with under-23 coach Neil Critchley taking charge of a youth-filled squad instead.

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Klopp said that he would instead use that time to give his team a proper winter break, with the Premier League having agreed to give clubs a brief respite for the first time.

Critchley's young Reds ended up sealing a 1-0 win in that replay, although Klopp's first team went on to fall to Chelsea in the next round.

Caldwell, though, says that the Reds' decision to play without first-team players cost Shrewsbury dearly, ruining the occasion while impacting the financial gain the club received for sealing that reply.

"You will recall our incredible come back in the FA Cup Fourth Round tie live on BBC with Liverpool to draw 2-2 back in January," Caldwell said. 

"Immediately following the match, the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp ruined what should have been a wonderful moment for our Club by making public statements that he and all of his first-team would not attend the replay at Anfield, effectively ruining what should have been not just financially but for the players and fans a wonderful achievement and a very special occasion.

"We struggled to believe that his statements had no effect on the replay being televised and we are convinced that LFC broke the FA Cup rules by not ‘fielding their strongest team’ in the return fixture.

"This had a knock-on effect of STFC not getting anywhere near the financial rewards that were to be expected from an FA Cup Fourth Round replay including a potential live TV fee against the World and European Champions and Premier League Champions (elect).

"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 last week (four months on).

"This without doubt resulted in a much lesser occasion for our players and fans as well as the financial reward that would have been expected from LFC playing their strongest team and abiding by the FA Cup rules."

It is not the only time Klopp and Liverpool have opted to field a weakened side this season, as the Reds' U-23s were also tossed into action in the Carabao Cup as the senior team claimed the Club World Cup in December. That match was much less successful for Liverpool, who were beaten 5-0 by Aston Villa.

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