Pedro Chirivella interview | Shrewsbury tie, Everton win and captaining Liverpool
Pedro Chirivella is certain Liverpool will be ready to handle the 'tricky' nature of Sunday's FA Cup fourth-round clash with Shrewsbury Town.
A sold-out New Meadow awaits the Reds this evening as they aim to reach the fifth round of the competition for the first time under Jürgen Klopp by overcoming the League One side on their own patch.
Having starred in midfield as Liverpool eliminated neighbours Everton in the previous round, and with the manager intending to call on ‘fresh legs’ in Shropshire, Chirivella hopes to make his 10th senior appearance today.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com ahead of the tie, the Spaniard outlined why the Reds have to be mentally prepared for a challenge from Shrewsbury.
“I think it’s the biggest game of the season for them or even of their lives,” said Chirivella. “Liverpool coming to Shrewsbury to play, it will be a full stadium. We have to be ready for a hard game and I think we’ll be ready for that.
“It will be a tricky one. I think we have to approach it the same way we always do – try to win and play good football. I think we’re going to be ready for that.”
A much-changed Liverpool XI featuring two debutants, and a third as an early substitute, earned a memorable 1-0 result over Everton in the third round.
The hosts weathered initial pressure from the Blues at Anfield to gain a confident foothold in the game that they translated into a stunning second-half winner from Curtis Jones.
“I saw a sensationally good performance of a not-very-experienced team,” said Klopp after that match and Chirivella believes the display was a perfect exhibition of the hunger those players felt on the day.
“I think we showed that. We were ready,” said the 22-year-old, who joined Liverpool from Valencia back in the summer of 2013.
“In the day before the game in training we showed that we were capable of playing a big performance. After the game everyone was really happy, really proud of how we performed. It was very, very good.
“It was a relief for me, personally. I thought I played a good game and finally people could see why I’m a part of Liverpool Football Club.
“Hopefully I can build up from here, in 20 or 25 years’ time I don’t want to think what could have happened. Hopefully this is the start.”
Chirivella had previously been part of the Reds team that contested the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa in mid-December.
With the first-team squad in Qatar to clinch the FIFA Club World Cup that week, U23s boss Neil Critchley oversaw a valiant 5-0 defeat for the youngest starting XI in Liverpool history.
Not only was the game Chirivella’s first start for the club in more than three-and-a-half years, the midfielder was also named captain for the night.
“I kept the shirt and I gave it to my parents,” he revealed. “I think they’ve framed it in my room back home in Spain. I’m looking forward to seeing it.
“I got told in the meeting before the game that I was going to be captain. It was such a proud moment for me, even though it was under strange circumstances.
“But it’s something I can say for the rest of my life and I’m sure my family are very happy for that. I’d be even more happy if we had won the game.
“We knew, from maybe November, that the Villa game was going to be played on the same day or the day before the first team played Monterrey. So I knew it was going to be a chance for the younger players to come in and play well.
“I think we made the club proud. In the first half we were as good as them, only they scored a few goals. It was a happy day for me at the end, even though we didn’t get the result.”