Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen is the latest footballing figure to give his opinion regarding the recent FA Cup replay conundrum.
The BT Sport pundit has backed the world’s oldest cup competition in keeping its traditions and has stated that he believes that replays play a key part in the ‘existence of this countries smaller clubs’.
Owen’s comments come just days after Liverpool’s 2-2 stalemate with League One outfit Shrewsbury Town which also saw Reds manager Klopp rule out all of his ‘senior’ players for the replay at Anfield.
The FA Cup fourth-round replay will commence in the middle of the Premier League’s inaugural winter break after a number of managers had called for football’s governing bodies to do more in terms of player welfare and protection.
Liverpool’s German boss has also chosen to give up his managerial duties for the return fixture against the Shrews with the responsibility now falling on the shoulders of U23s manager Neil Critchley.
Critchley was recently in charge of the first team during Liverpool’s Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat against Aston Villa in December when Klopp and the rest of the senior players were overseeing their duties in the FIFA Club World Cup.
Klopp’s decision has caused a social media storm with many supporters divided over the FIFA Coach of the Year’s decision to not take part when the two sides meet on February 4/5.
Owen believes that any future decision regarding FA Cup decisions should be ‘simple’ and an opportunity for managers to ‘rotate’ their squad. He has also called for a collective effort to help maintain the safeguarding of ‘smaller clubs’.
Writing on his Twitter page, Owens post read: “I can’t believe this debate re Cup replays. They are vital for the existence of this countries smaller clubs.
“Why are we continuing to squeeze the life out of these clubs? If teams think there’s too many games for certain players, rotate your squad. Simple.”
I can’t believe this debate re Cup replays. They are vital for the existence of this countries smaller clubs. Why are we continuing to squeeze the life out of these clubs? If teams think there’s too many games for certain players, rotate your squad. Simple.
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) January 27, 2020
What RTK has to say
Owen is entitled to his opinion and it is important to consider the positive impact the FA Cup has on clubs in the low tiers of the English football pyramid.
Many Liverpool followers will back Klopp to the ends of the earth. After all he could hardly have much more credit in the bank. They are champions of Europe, champions of the world and Premier League champions-elect.
Some will also argue that the FA Cup is simply just third in the priority list and that Klopp is well in his right to prioritise other forms of silverware with the competition seemingly losing its sparkle more and more by the year.
However, the replay could have provided valuable game time for a number of senior players. Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Fabinho all looked horribly rusty on their return to the starting line up against the Shrews after injury lay-offs.