Jurgen Klopp branded a ‘disgrace’ for snubbing Liverpool replay as FA and Prem chiefs fume

JURGEN KLOPP was hit with a furious backlash over his FA Cup boycott.

The Liverpool boss is refusing to take charge of next week’s replay with Shrewsbury and vowed to field a team of kids in a winter break row.

Klopp will not be on the bench when Shrewsbury come to Anfield
Getty Images – Getty

Klopp’s decision sparked outrage — ahead of a fifth-round draw which will see the winners of the tie play at Chelsea.

Accrington chairman Andy Holt branded Klopp a ‘disgrace’, accused the Liverpool chief of ‘killing’ the FA Cup and urged the FA to charge him with bringing the game into disrepute.

Ex-Kop stars Jamie Carragher and Danny Murphy called for the German to reverse his own decision not to boss the young side at Anfield.

FA and Premier League chiefs believe Klopp misled fans because a letter they issued backing a winter break was intended to prevent clubs playing in lucrative friendlies overseas next month.

Klopp’s side were forced into a replay after tossing away a two-goal lead at League One Shrewsbury to draw 2-2.

But his controversial point over fixture congestion has not gone down well in the Football League.

Holt, owner of League One Accy, blasted: “Jurgen, you’re embarrassing yourself. This is pure selfishness of the highest degree and tarnishing your reputation.

“Liverpool need censuring and fining heavily. It’s not their football. It’s ours. The path we’re on, forever losing out to Premier League greed, has to stop.

This is once-in-a- lifetime stuff for some, being ruined by a greedy elite.”

Andy Holt

“It’s also unfair to players and fans of Shrewsbury who dream of a cup draw to play against big clubs at their place later on.

“This is once-in-a- lifetime stuff for some, being ruined by a greedy elite. Klopp should go and play the best side he can in the circumstances.”

Klopp received support from Carragher and Murphy over his stance to rest his stars.

But the former Liverpool players both stated he is wrong to hand the reins to Under-23s boss Neil Critchley.

Carragher tweeted: “Klopp should take the team. His young players will be delighted and then a picture of him in Ibiza with a beer will be on every front page.”

Murphy added on talkSPORT: “I don’t think there’s any reason for him not to be there.

“Wherever he’s flying to, whatever holiday he’s got with or without the players, whether they’re going away together or he’s given the players time off, he is the manager.

“He’s not running round the pitch every three days, he’s just walking about the training pitch and in the dugout.

WHAT THE FA SAID

“THE FA went to great lengths to create an annual mid-season player break, working closely with the  Premier League and its clubs.

“It is a new and significant addition to the English football calendar and is designed to benefit clubs and their players.

“To accommodate the annual mid-season player break, the FA rescheduled the FA Cup fifth round to midweek and removed fifth-round replays from the calendar.

“This allowed the Premier League room in its calendar to have a split round of fixtures over two weekends.

“Prior to the start of the 2019/20 season, all clubs accepted that Emirates FA Cup fourth-round replays, where required, would have to take place during the first week of the mid-season player break.

“This will only affect a small number of clubs due to the split of Premier League fixtures in the mid-season player break.”

“As the manager, the impact of being there for those younger lads who play on the day is massive.

“I know as a young player, when the first-team manager comes to watch, even at a training session, the tempo goes from seven to ten.”

Klopp justified his stance by referring to a letter sent by Prem chiefs last April.

Yet senior figures at both the FA and Prem suggest the Liverpool boss is being deliberately awkward.

One highly-placed figure said: “Jurgen knows what was agreed last season. Between us we have given the clubs what they said they wanted.

“That was why the FA agreed to play the fifth round in a midweek slot and end replays after round four.

“Without our agreement, there would not have been a break at all — but it is what the clubs were calling for.”

And Prem and Wembley officials insist the letter was only a response to suggestions a number of clubs could take advantage of the break to play money-spinning friendlies in the Middle East.

Accrington’s Andy Holt (left) was left stunned by Klopp’s response
PA:Empics Sport

Another senior source said: “Liverpool were at every meeting where this was discussed and the club knew it was only about not scheduling overseas matches to make money.”

But Leicester chief Brendan Rodgers backed Klopp’s position.

He said: “Jurgen is within his rights to pick whatever team he decides.

“It was designed as something for the players to have and go away, recover a little bit. To then organise replays was ridiculous.”

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