November 6 – Liverpool will field two different teams in as many days as in an attempt to navigate the English League Cup quarterfinal and FIFA Club World Cup commitments with the space of 24 hours in December, a situation that had been questioned by club coach Jurgen Klopp.
Next month, Klopp’s team are to play Aston Villa at Villa Park, England on December 17 before playing halfway across the world in Doha, Qatar on December 18.
At first, Klopp suggested that Liverpool might have to pull out of the Carabao Cup, a competition that has at times been seen a s nuisance by top-flight clubs with European commitments. The Club World Cup is an even-less loved competition and has never commanded much respect in Europe, coming on top of crowded domestic schedules at what is often a season-defining period for clubs. Liverpool released a statement on Tuesday saying it had reached a decision to utilise “two playing squads simultaneously.”
“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,” read the statement.
After Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Genk in the Champions League on Tuesday, Klopp said that he didn’t know how the logistics of playing two games in as many days would work out. “We don’t know exactly yet,” said Klopp. “We have an idea how we’ll do it but it’s too early to speak about that. We had to make a decision now and we made the decision because all the other alternatives were more problems than solutions. And that didn’t work out.”
The question for Liverpool is whether they split their squad evenly or play a weakened team in one of the matches. There is also the question of how many injured players Liverpool could be carrying by the time the December matches come around. The Club World Cup semi-final will undoubtedly be the easier of the two matches while the Carabao Cup game will be played in front of a much bigger and more passionate crowd and is still one of England’s biggest football occasions for clubs and fans who make it to the Wembley final. Liverpool could feasibly weight their squad in favour of the Aston Villa match, and still fly in their stars for the final of the Club World Cup five days later, assuming they don’t slip up in Qatar. Similarly Liverpool could use the Qatar jaunt as a mid-season warm-weather break for their players before returning to the real business of Premier League and Champions League winning.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1607013852labto1607013852ofdlr1607013852owedi1607013852sni@o1607013852fni1607013852