Micky Mellon: Replays are a lifeline to small clubs

League One Shrewsbury are still in the cup and are hoping to pull off a huge fifth-round shock when they host Manchester United at Greenhous Meadow on Monday.

"I think it (the FA Cup) is a serious competition and not a competition you can throw away", said the Chilean, whose side were beaten at home by the Premier League's top two, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur, in their last two matches.

Should the Reds make it all the way to the Europa League Final in May, they will have played a total of 63 matches this season. Obviously at the start there are loads of teams, and the quality is diluted a bit.

The former England striker told the Echo: "When you get to the knockout stages, it is always a strong line-up". We went to Olympiakos, Roma, Porto, Barcelona - all big sides.

"The FA is in a good financial position and lowering the cost of these showpiece matches is in recognition of the strong, continued commitment from fans supporting the world's original cup competition".

Hovering in the bottom half of the Premier League is bad enough but a 2-1 defeat at Paris St Germain on Tuesday has left Chelsea in danger of going out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage - with the second leg to come on March 9. It was nearly like a Champions League campaign.

"Sevilla have got a fantastic record in the competition in recent years, so they'll be among the favourites".

Doing so this season would have meant just three fewer games for Liverpool, but it would have meant three extra full weeks off for the club over a jam packed December and January, a time when the club-perhaps not coincidentally-were wracked by a seemingly endless string of hamstring injuries.

"The likes of Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen, Shakhtar... there is a lot of quality there".



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