Sam Ricketts has followed the lead of Michael Flynn in leaving a big Welsh imprint on this season’s FA Cup.
A year after Flynn’s Newport County dumped Leicester City and Middlesbrough out of the competition, former Wales defender Ricketts – now Shrewsbury Town manager – masterminded an astonishing comeback against Liverpool in the fourth round.
Trailing 2-0 to the Premier League’s runaway leaders, Ricketts pulled off a masterstroke substitution that produced two goals for Jason Cummings.
It means the Shrews have earned a replay and trip to Anfield for the first time in the club’s history.
Ricketts said: “They were excellent, they really were. I told the players at half time that the game was there for them.
“The belief within the group is unbelievable, for a new group they have a never say die attitude.
“Jason [Cummings] came on and he’s a goalscorer. I was waiting and waiting to put him on then I finally did and he gets the chances and takes them.
“If we’d won it definitely would have been the biggest moment of my career. The game was there for us but I couldn’t ask for any more. They’ve taken a team that’s very, very good all the way.
“I can count on one hand the amount of the times we’ve not turned up this season. We have to take this belief and use it to help us grow.
“I’ve been here 18 months but the club is six months into a long-term project. We do everything within our means, we’re just trying to build a squad to challenge higher up from a solid base.”
Jurgen Klopp showed Liverpool’s focus is very much on a first Premier League title for 30 years as he made 11 changes to the side that won at Wolves on Thursday.
However, unlike against Everton in the third round, the German’s gamble did not pay off despite a calm finish from 18-year-old Curtis Jones to open the scoring on 15 minutes.
Shrewsbury missed a host of chances to level before the break and seemed set to pay a heavy price when a freak own goal from Donald Love doubled the visitors’ lead a minute into the second half.
The Shrews, though, did not give up on their shot at shocking the European champions and were given a lifeline when Yasser Larouci brought down Josh Laurent and substitute Cummings scored from the spot.
Cummings then sent New Meadow into raptures by slotting low under Adrian 15 minutes from time.
A visibly furious Klopp threw on Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino from the bench in an attempt to avoid adding a replay to their congested schedule.
But it was to no avail as a draw will see his side’s two-week winter break from Premier League action at the start of February shortened by a few days.
Ricketts added: “When they started to bring on Firmino and Salah, we were thinking about making attacking changes but we were like right lads let’s show them a little bit of respect now.
“We just said to lads ‘you could have won it, but you all wanted to go back to Anfield didn’t you?’”