It’s not often Liverpool players do a lap of honour after beating League One opposition.

But then there was nothing ordinary about what happened here. Nothing ordinary at all.

Anfield has seen an awful lot over the years, but this was unparalleled.

With Jurgen Klopp and his senior players watching on from various parts of the globe, the Reds youngsters, helmed by under-23s boss Neil Critchley, produced a performance to remember to secure victory against Shrewsbury Town in their fourth round replay.

And, without even meaning to, they shoved disparaging words right down the throats of Liverpool’s critics.

Disrespect the FA Cup? Pah.

Neil Critchley celebrates with Pedro Chirivella, right, and Adam Lewis after the win over Shrewsbury

This is what the competition is all about, the unfancied underdogs going toe-to-toe with their more fancied rivals and, under the floodlights, turning on the style to defy the odds.

Okay, that might be a bit of a stretch. But there was no doubt matters were stacked against Liverpool, many of the neutrals wishing them to fail.

Small wonder the ecstatic celebrations at the final whistle having outplayed and, more impressively, outfought a Shrewsbury side who had held a much stronger Reds side to a 2-2 draw nine days earlier.

Adam Lewis and Pedro Chirivella made a beeline for Critchley, bear-hugging the U23 boss who was then mobbed by the remainder of his players and went on to salute the Kop.

Boy, had they deserved this moment, sticking to the principles that have been ingrained from the first team right through to the youth levels. This was a triumph for the Academy as much as anything else.

Rather than be criticised for demeaning the competition, Liverpool should be praised for helping keep the spirit of the much-maligned tournament alive.

The Reds have now, in different circumstances, given us three games to remember – the win over Everton, the draw at Shrewsbury, and now this.

Liverpool's youngsters celebrate FA Cup victory over Shrewsbury

For the team – fearless, imaginative, bursting with desire – this will be a landmark occasion. Even if it’s the last time they walk out as a Reds player at Anfield, it’s one nobody in this 52,399 crowd, which including James Milner shouting encouragement from behind the dugout, will ever forget.

How the home fans bought into the effort of the youngsters, their backing no different to if Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and all the rest were giving their all.

Of course, with Liverpool having never before progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup under Klopp, perhaps passing fourth-round managerial duties on to someone else was a canny move from the German.

Relive Liverpool 1-0 Shrewsbury as it happened HERE

Does Critchley stay in charge for next month’s visit to Chelsea? Do Liverpool keep faith in all their youngsters? These are questions for another time.

Yes, the decisive strike owed had a debt to fortune. Yes, the Reds needed VAR to chalk off a Shrewsbury opener.

But nobody could argue this was anything other than a richly, richly deserved victory.

And it was no coincidence the game’s best performer, Neco Williams, was heavily involved in the 75-minute winner, keeping alive possession from a clearance by Shrewsbury goalkeeper Max O’Leary before launching a teasing diagonal into the area that, with Harvey Elliott loitering, visiting centre-back Ro-Shaun Williams heades into his own net.

Neco Williams kisses the badge
Neco Williams kisses the badge

Williams wasn’t the only one to impress. Sepp van den Berg demonstrated, as many of his team-mates, that the defensive lessons of the Carabao Cup beating at Aston Villa in December had been learned, Chirivella an outstanding shield and leader in midfield.

Elliott showed his promise, Leighton Clarkson justified why he has shone at Melwood while Curtis Jones revelled in becoming Liverpool’s youngest-ever captain at 19 years and five days old.

Indeed, the average age of 19 years and 102 days made it the Reds’ youngest-ever senior side, a record that had been set at Villa Park in December. With three debutants in Adam Lewis, Jake Cain and Liam Millar, the line-up had only 36 senior Liverpool appearances between them.

Jones was among Liverpool’s liveliest performers in the first half, with Shrewsbury clearly having singled him out as the chief danger having scored in the 2-2 draw at the Montgomery Waters Meadow nine days earlier.

The teenager was given a bit of a buffeting at times, not least when caught by a strong arm from Ro-Shaun Williams to the nose that left him requiring lengthy treatment and running repairs.

Not that it knocked his already renowned self-confidence, shown when producing a rabona for a cross inside the area.

Jones had the first shot of the match, his free-kick curled straight down the throat of O’Leary from 25 yards.

Curtis Jones crosses the ball
Curtis Jones crosses the ball

That it took until the 26 minute for either keeper to be tested said much about the opening half in which Liverpool’s youngsters, showing no signs of nerves, dominated possession but struggled to fashion clear openings.

The Reds had an excuse, playing without a recognised centre forward. But they were given the space in which to play by a strangely respectful Shrewsbury, who lacked ambition.

Williams powered his way down the right and fizzed an angled shot just across the face of goal and the same player was denied by the feet of O’Leary after Clarkson demonstrated his vision with a fine pass for Elliott to then wriggle inside the area and create the chance.

Shrewsbury, no doubt given a rollocking by manager Sam Ricketts, finally began to remember who the seasoned campaigners were and started to probe in their only period of pressure during which they thought they had scored on 59 minutes, only for a reactive finish from Shaun Whalley to be disallowed after substitute Daniel Udoh was spotted offside in the build-up by VAR.

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That, however, appeared to stir Liverpool into greater life, their later lead never appearing under threat with the defensive effort from front to back outstanding.

The boys did the FA Cup proud. And, more importantly, they did the club proud. What a night.