Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has raised doubts about his team’s participation in the Carabao Cup, given the fixture clash that it presents.
The Reds beat Arsenal 5-4 on penalties after a 5-5 draw at Anfield and now face Aston Villa in the quarter-finals, but commitments in other competitions put their involvement in jeopardy.
The game is to be played the week commencing 16 December, but Liverpool are due to head out to Qatar for the FIFA Club World Cup that week for a semi-final on December 18.
The final for that competition is on Saturday 21 December, with Liverpool also scheduled to play Premier League games on Boxing Day and December 29. As it stands they have a potential eight games over an 18-day period.
Speaking after last night’s game, Klopp said: “When asked if he was worried about the fixture clashes, Klopp said: 'I'm not concerned – somebody else has to be concerned because we didn't make the fixture list, we didn't make the schedule. I've said it already, FIFA told us the Club World Cup will be there and we have to come there. We will do.”
“The Premier League tells us we have to play in the Premier League, which we do obviously. The Carabao Cup, what we did against Arsenal, if they don't find an appropriate place for us – not 3am on Christmas Day – then we don't play it. They have to make that decision.”
“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 the fixture list. Hopefully it starts now. I really think that's fair and this problem is obvious now.”
“If they don't find a proper date for us, then we cannot play the next round and whoever is our opponent will go through. Or Arsenal play them. A lot of people from the Premier League were sitting in front of the television hoping that Arsenal can do it. But, I'm sorry!”
The English Football League (EFL) are already in talks with Liverpool about rearranging the fixture.
In 2000, when Manchester United qualified for the World Club Championship (the equivalent of its time) they withdrew from the FA Cup because they couldn’t fulfil the fixture.
As a result, the FA decided to draw one lower-division team that had been defeated in the second round to as a "lucky loser". Darlington were drawn, losing to Aston Villa in the third round, after losing 3-1 to Gillingham in the second round.
The game against Arsenal proved to be a hugely entertaining affair, with both sides making 11 changes from their Premier League fixtures the weekend before.
On the game itself, Klopp said: "I was so happy for the kids that they will remember their first night at Anfield for the rest of their life. In the end they made it a proper special football night. Everybody who came tonight saw 19 goals, including the shootout, that's pretty special.
"Really perfect, absolutely perfect. Maybe as a manager I should think more about or worry about the goals that we conceded but I couldn't care less to be honest. I couldn't care less tonight."
Liverpool’s December fixture list (as it stands):
Liverpool vs Watford, 14 December, Premier League
Aston Villa v Liverpool, 17 December, Carabao Cup
TBC vs Liverpool, 18 December, FIFA Club World Cup
Potential FIFA Club World Cup final, 21 December
West Ham vs Liverpool, postponed, Premier League
Leicester City vs Liverpool, 26 December, Premier League
Liverpool vs Wolves, 29 December, Premier League
Liverpool vs Sheffield United, 2 January, Premier League
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