JURGEN KLOPPS Liverpool reserves may have been good enough to defeat Everton in the FA Cup – but not League One Shrewsbury.
But a stunning second-half comeback from the Shrews – and a double from their Scottish sub Jason Cummings – meant that the European champions must entertain Sam Ricketts men in a fourth-round replay.
So desperate was Klopp to avoid Liverpools winter break being cut short that he sent on Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino in the final 15 minutes.
Yet despite a first-half opener from third-round hero Curtis Jones and a comical own goal from Shrewburys former Manchester United defender Donald Love, Ricketts side did what no club has managed in the Premier League since October and avoided defeat against Liverpool.
The Shrews thoroughly deserve their big night out at Anfield – they squandered a string of scoring chances before Cummings arrived on the hour to score a penalty and ten rob Dejan Lovren for an equaliser.
Klopp made 11 changes from the side which won at Wolves on Thursday but there was still plenty of experience in his starting line-up plus those special guest stars coming off the bench.
One of the those who failed to impress was Takumi Minamino – the 7.25million January signing from Red Bull Salzburg – who missed two first-half chances.
But the Reds were ahead on 15 minutes, their deep-lying Spanish midfielder Pedro Chirivella supplying a piercing pass and Jones running on to coolly steer his low shot past keeper Max OLeary.
Midway through the half, the Shrews had an excellent chance to equalise – skipper Ollie Norburn won a crunching 50-50 with Fabinho, releasing Shaun Whalley, whose shot was saved by the legs of Adrian.
Norburn soon had to be withdrawn, replaced by experienced Wales international Dave Edwards.
Minamino was wasteful again when he skied one from just inside the box but then the League One side forced another genuine opening.
Callum Langs pass sent Whalley bearing down on goal again, but this time the Shrews forward shot wide across goal.
Aaron Pierre squandered another decent chance and, while Liverpools kids had more individual class, their hosts – without a win in five League One matches – were bang in the contest at half-time.
That all seemed to change within 28 seconds of the restart when Williams centred and Love – who once played two first team matches for Louis Van Gaals United – steered a Williams cross into his own net
under no pressure.
Yet after Lang had a shot turned wide of the far post by Adrian, he was replaced by Cummings – a former Scottish Cup winner with Hibernian – and it all changed.
Algerian left-back Yasser Larouci conceded the 65th-minute spot-kick with a desperate lunge at Josh Laurent and Cummings sent Adrian the wrong way only five minutes after arriving.
Then after Klopp had sent on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lovren was caught dallying on the edge of his area, allowing Cummings to rob the Croatian and guide his shot past the Liverpool keeper.
Ro-Shaun Williams had to make one desperate challenge to deny Jones a winner.
But it was Liverpool who ended up clinging on when Cummings headed wide at the far post in injury-time, although a linesmans flag was up.