Football Bet of the Day: Starlets and Shrews to cancel each other out
Liverpool's youngsters face a big test against Shrewsbury in the FA Cup, and Kevin Hatchard doesn't think there'll be much to separate the sides.
Unusual clash to stay tight
Liverpool v Shrewsbury Tuesday 04 February, 19:45
It was all going so well in Bochum last night. Our boys were a goal to the good against Hamburg going into the 68th minute, but they collapsed and lost 3-1. A decent trade for some, hopefully, but a loser for our purposes.
We'll head to Anfield tonight, for a most unusual FA Cup tie between European, world, galactic and soon to be Premier League champions Liverpool, and League One strugglers Shrewsbury.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was incensed by the decision to schedule this replay in the agreed winter break, so he is boycotting the tie, and has pulled his senior players out of it too. Under-23's boss Neil Critchley will lead an exceptionally young and inexperienced side. Just as he did in the 5-0 mauling at the hands of Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup. Don't be fooled by Liverpool's 1-0 win over Everton in the previous round - this is a far weaker side than the one employed that night.
Shrewsbury did well to fight back from 2-0 down and force a 2-2 draw and a replay, but their away form is poor. They have won just three of their last 16 away games in all competitions, and although Liverpool's children seem too short for the win to me here at 2.14, I can't back the Shrews with any real confidence.
Instead, I'll look at backing Under 2.5 Goals at 2.40. 13 of Shrewsbury's last 14 away games have featured fewer than three goals, and they average under a goal a game in League One. However, they are defensively sound, with the best goals-against record in the bottom half of the division.
With the youngsters keen to impress, and Shrewsbury sensing a big opportunity to reach the fifth round, this could be a bit cagey for a while, so I'll back Under 2.5 Goals here at 2.40.