Klopp: Liverpool may exit League Cup over fixture pile-up
Jurgen Klopp was happy after seeing his Liverpool youngsters beat Arsenal on penalty kicks (after a wild 5-5 draw) at Anfield in the League Cup on Wednesday, but his focus then switched to how on earth they’re going to play the quarterfinal in December.
Liverpool were drawn to play away at Aston Villa during the week commencing Dec. 16 but the problem is that after winning the UEFA Champions League they will now play in the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar during the same week.
Speaking after the dramatic penalty kick win against Arsenal, Klopp was adamant that Liverpool will simply drop out of the competition if the English Football League cannot find a date to play the game which suits his team.
“If they don’t find a place for us, an appropriate place, not 3pm on Christmas Day or something, then we don’t play. They have to make it. You have to think about these things - if you have a fixture list, where one team cannot be part of all the games, then you have to think about it,” Klopp said. “Hopefully it starts now. I think it’s fair that this problem is obvious now. We will not be the victim of this problem. We played tonight, we want to win it, if they don’t find a proper date for us, we cannot play the next round and whoever our opponent is will go through, or Arsenal.”
Liverpool cannot be in two places at once and given the fact they play in the UCL group stage, that complicates things further. Between now and January they are playing twice a week, with midweek PL games, the UCL, the Club World Cup and now the League Cup.
It’s likely the Premier League will have to move one of Liverpool’s games to accommodate the League Cup, as the two-legged League Cup semifinals are scheduled to be played on the weeks commencing Jan. 6 and Jan. 27.
This will take some serious creativity from all involved to find a date when Liverpool could play their quarterfinal. Right now, moving their game against Watford to Friday, December 13 and then playing Aston Villa on Monday, Dec. 16 is probably their best option, but then Liverpool would have to fly straight out to Qatar and play on Dec. 18.
That seems like the most logical way to wedge this game in, as there’s no way it can be played any later due to the busy festive period, and then the FA Cup starting up in early January.
Not an ideal situation at all for the Reds, who do not want to be punished for simply being successful.