Liverpool agree to present two teams in different competitions
The English Football League has confirmed Liverpool will travel to Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup quarter-final on the originally scheduled date of Tuesday, December 17. It is an extraordinary agreement because Jurgen Klopp and his squad will play the semi-final of the FIFA World club championships in Qatar on December 18.
Although Klopp made 11 changes to his line-up for the round four victories over Arsenal, he still included senior stars such as Adam Lallana, Divock Origi, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita in his line-up and the EFL indicated Liverpool have agreed to play a side of similar strength.
“We will be utilising two playing squads simultaneously, with one squad participating in the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar and another in the Carabao Cup,” Liverpool confirmed.
“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.”
The EFL released their own statement to explain why an alternative date – playing Liverpool’s quarter-final on the scheduled semi-final date – was rejected.
“The EFL has been engaged in discussions with Liverpool for a number of months regarding the possibility of needing to find a suitable date for the club to meet its commitments to the Carabao Cup, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup,” it read.
“Having considered all possible scenarios, the EFL has now accepted a request from the club to play the fixture on the scheduled date, during the designated week for the Quarter-Finals in the domestic fixture calendar, with Liverpool committing to fielding a team that is largely consistent with those that have participated in earlier rounds of this season’s competition.”
EFL Football Services Director, Dave Cookson, added: “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’s situation will serve only to underline Klopp’s recent protests about the fixture calendar trying to accommodate too much football.
Last week he called for a summit of managers and governing bodies to protect players and the integrity of the game.
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