Liverpool has confirmed it will field two different teams in as many days as it attempts to play in the English League Cup quarterfinal and FIFA Club World Cup in 24 hours.
Jurgen Klopp’s side is scheduled to face Aston Villa at Villa Park, England on December 17 before playing thousands of miles away in Doha, Qatar on December 18.
Despite Klopp suggesting his team may have to pull out of the League Cup, now named the Carabao Cup, Liverpool released a statement on Tuesday saying it had reached a decision to utilize “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,” the statement read.
Following his side’s 2-1 win over Genk in the UEFA Champions League Tuesday, Klopp said he was not yet sure how the logistics of playing two games in as many days would work.
“We don’t know exactly yet. We have an idea how we’ll do it but it’s too early to speak about that,” he said, joking that Aston Villa should travel to Qatar to play them.
“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.”
Congested fixture list
Liverpool still remains in all competitions this season and already faced a congested fixture list with the addition of the Champions League, FA Cup and English Premier League.
It will play six games in November and now has eight fixtures lined up for December, with an EPL away trip to West Ham already having to be rescheduled because of Liverpool’s trip to the Middle East.
“The Carabao Cup, it always sounds like we don’t want to play it but that’s not true,” Klopp added.
“The Club World Cup, you play only if you win the Champions League and that doesn’t happen in your life five million times, so that means we will take the opportunity if they ask you.
“Is it the best time of the year? No. Are we pretty busy? Yes. But you go there and we try to play all the games we have with all that we have.”
The Carabao Cup is a secondary club competition whilst the Club World Cup is played between the winner from each confederation’s major continental tournament.
According to the regulations set out by the English Football League, which runs the League Cup, “each club shall play its full available strength in and during all Cup competition matches, unless some satisfactory reason is given.”
In a statement on Liverpool’s situation, the EFL said: “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 quarterfinals 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.”