Liverpool to play twice in two days in Carabao and Fifa Club World Cups | Football


Liverpool will play two cup competitions on two continents in less than 24 hours next month after the EFL agreed to their request to stage the Carabao Cup quarter-final at Aston Villa as originally scheduled.

Jürgen Klopp had threatened to withdraw Liverpool from the competition over a fixture clash with the Club World Cup and dismissed the idea of playing different teams in the competitions only on Friday. Liverpool have since requested the game at Villa Park takes place as planned on Tuesday 17 December – the day before their first game of the Club World Cup in Qatar.

The EFL announced on Tuesday that it had agreed to the proposal to avoid disruption to the semi-final stages, the FA Cup and future Premier League matches.

Liverpool have been in talks with the EFL for several months. The European champions have given a commitment to the EFL to field a team in the quarter-finals “that is largely consistent with those that have participated in earlier rounds of this season’s competition” and meets the competition’s selection requirements. Regulation 6.5 states: “Each club shall play its full available strength in and during all cup competition matches, unless some satisfactory reason is given.”

Klopp handed five youngsters their home debuts in the penalty shootout victory over Arsenal in the fourth round but also started players who would be expected to feature in Qatar – James Milner, Divock Origi, Joe Gomez, Naby Keïta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana. Liverpool could field a similar side at Villa and fly first-team regulars to Qatar afterwards for their second CWC game on 21 December.

No final decisions have been made on the composition of Klopp’s squads or on whether the manager will oversee both matches, although that is unlikely.

The EFL’s football services director, Dave Cookson, said: “The EFL has long acknowledged this competition provides those clubs with large resources with the opportunity to rotate their squads knowing that teams who wish to be successful have to be prepared to play a large amount of matches over the course of the season.

“Therefore, in these exceptional circumstances the decision was taken having received clear assurances from the club that there will be a level of consistency in team selection, a feature which is key to ensuring integrity is maintained. We recognise the challenges Liverpool face in this matter and appreciate the efforts made to find a practical solution.”

Liverpool said in a statement : “The club would like to take this opportunity to underline that, while this is not an ideal scenario, it is an outcome which was arrived at with the best interests of the competition, our fellow clubs and ourselves as the sole motivating factor.

“We would like to thank the EFL for their efforts to accommodate us and we can confirm alternative dates were discussed but, ultimately, none were considered suitable without compromising the scheduling of the competition itself or placing an undue strain on our playing staff.”

Klopp had ruled out the possibility of playing on the 17 and 18 December on the basis he needed a full squad in Qatar. He said on Friday: “It’s not that we can go there with 11 players and say: ‘These 11 guys play the two games in Qatar and the other guys play at home in England against Aston Villa.’”


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