The Cup is dead? Long live the Cup!

Not happy with breaking the Premier League for all the right reasons, at least so far this season, Jurgen Klopp is now looking to break the FA Cup for all the wrong reasons. At least that’s the perception but the truth – as it always is – is far more complicated.

Klopp has stated categorically that he will not play any of his first team players in the replay and that he himself will not manage the game against Shrewsbury Town.

This has drawn the ire of many and is seen as disrespecting the 148 year old cup competition. So far three things have seen teams not play in the FA Cup to my knowledge: World War I, World War II and Manchester United’s fixture clash.

Manchester United pulled out of the cup in the 1999-2000 season, as holders no less, due to their decision to instead participate in FIFA’s Club World Cup. Given what transpired in that tournament, they probably wish they had not.

And now Liverpool, under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp have decided not to pull out of the competition but cleary devalue its importance by playing “the kids” and refusing to manage in the game himself.

Is he right? Well on the one hand, yes. The Premier League made it clear that no matches were to be played and Klopp instructed his players that they would be given a one week break.

There is no doubt in my mind that Klopp is trying to do what he feels is right for the greater good of not just his players, but all players. From when he first entered the league, he has made it no secret that he thinks that Premier League footballers are overworked and that physically and mentally they need a break.

He’s right, they do but that doesn’t fit with the “we’d play every day if we were them” mentality of the traditionalists who think these human beings should be treated like robots based on the salaries they are being paid, which by the way is a completely nonsensical argument.

There will of course be those that see this as the perfect opportunity to attack Liverpool Football Club, you know the type who belief any excuse is valid. Conversely of course there will be those that will ignore rational thinking and declare that Liverpool can do no wrong, regardless of the issue – see the Luis Suarez situation for details.

My issue is not with Klopp taking a stand, it’s with how, when and at least partly why.

Hypothetically, if Liverpool were not in the European Cup, would Klopp value the FA Cup more and would this be an issue? I think it’s fair to say he probably would and it probably wouldn’t. That said though, it wouldn’t be an issue with the European Cup because the now biggest club competition in the world does not have replays any more.

Klopp has been forced into a corner by the FA’s incompetence. Replays should have been done away with long ago. The League Cup did this and no one had any issue with it that I saw.

That then opens up the question of gate receipts for smaller clubs. Klopp has his own thoughts on this matter and believes the takings should be split equally. A fair compromise which I’m sure many clubs would accept given it gives them a greater chance to earn from their cup draws merely by making it to the point where they can be drawn against one of the “big boys”.

Nothing about any of this is black and white. With that said and taking into account this is a tough situation, I am still upset and embarrassed with the decision Liverpool Football Club has taken.

Speaking of controversy, if Liverpool want to play the Under 23’s, then both sets of fans should pay U23 money. This of course raises the issue of Shrewsbury being short changed. Liverpool should in my opinion give the entire gate receipts to Shrewsbury. It’s the least we could do!

The FA Cup is the greatest club competition that any single country (well dual I guess with Welsh clubs) has in the world.

The FA however have diminished its value themselves. Playing Semi Finals at Wembley? Why? Changing the kick off time to 5pm? Why?

Do not think for one second that I am taking the FA’s side in this over Klopp, I’m not. That said, I just can’t get on board with what he is doing, even if he believes it to be for the greater good.

Shrewsbury Town have become no more than a sacrificial lamb in this process. After one of the greatest nights in their clubs history, given to them by a team that showed everyone that the magic of the cup is alive and well, they are being hung out to dry.

I’ve heard people say that they “have a better chance to get through now and earn more money”. Really? You think that’s what those lads went out there to play for, the clubs bank balance? Of course they didn’t. They wanted to either beat Liverpool Football Club, or draw and take them back to Anfield and they accomplished the former of those two.

Their reward? A trip to Anfield that will be special but muted in its magnificence. They wanted the experience of playing the best, or if not the best, the best they could be up against that made sense for Liverpool’s aspirations. They won’t get that, we are taking that from them.

There is a chance of course that the FA will be forced to move the fixture and this could be what Jurgen is banking on. This would be the sensible approach from the FA… so of course they won’t and instead will go to war over it.

My compromise would have been to say something along the lines of that we had an agreement and you have broken that, but we won’t hold Shrewsbury responsible and punish them. We will play this season, but next season we are boycotting until you can guarantee this will not happen again.

This way we are not directly prioritising other competitions and we have nothing to gain from boycotting the FA Cup the season after.

Instead, we are devaluing the FA Cup, but the FA Cup brought that upon itself, Shrewsbury Town however did not!