Liverpool will play two games in two days nearly 5,000 miles apart after their League Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa was scheduled for the day before their Club World Cup semi-final in Qatar.
The European champions will travel to Villa on December 17, League Cup organisers the English Football League announced on Tuesday.
Liverpool play their first match of the Club World Cup in Doha the following day, meaning the Red’s will be forced to use two separate squads for the fixtures.
“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 (League) Cup,” 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.”
Due to a midweek round of the Premier League in December and Liverpool’s participation in the Champions League and Club World Cup, there were no free midweeks to play the quarter-final before the semi-finals were due to be played in early January.
“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,” added Liverpool’s statement.
Jurgen Klopp has fielded a much-weakened side in both Liverpool’s League Cup victories so far this season over MK Dons and Arsenal.
It is expected that first team stars such as Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino will head to Qatar as Liverpool aim to win the Club World Cup for the first time, leaving younger players behind to fulful the League Cup fixture. – AFP