The Reds are scheduled to play eight games in four distinguished competitions in the month of December.
The fourth round fixture of Carabao Cup at Anfield turned out to be an absolute thriller. An adamant young Liverpool side refused to give up against Arsenal despite trailing by two goals in the second half to draw at 5-5.
Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain combined to complete an emphatic comeback against the Gunners. During the penalty shootout, Curtis Jones netted the winning spot-kick after Caoimhin Kelleher had saved Dani Ceballos’ effort.
It was certainly a memorable night for the young Reds as they booked a place in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup where they will face Aston Villa. However, Liverpool’s hopes of winning the domestic cup took a huge dent after realising their quarter-final fixture might clash with the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar.
Liverpool’s Club World Cup campaign is scheduled to begin on 18th December and their opponents for the semi-final are yet to be decided. Unfortunately, their Carabao Cup fixture against Villa is scheduled to be on the 17th. Now as much as the Reds crave for a domestic silverware, a trophy of Club World Cup’s stature is something they cannot compromise on.
In light of the same, Jurgen Klopp issued a warning to English Football League officials saying Liverpool might choose to forfeit the game if they fail to schedule it on a sensible date. “If they don’t find a place for us – an appropriate place – not 3 am on Christmas Day, then we don’t play it,” said Klopp as per a report from ESPN.
“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,” said Klopp in the post-match conference after Arsenal win.
“We played tonight, we wanted to win it, we did that,” he continued, “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 plays it.”
In their defence, Liverpool are supposed to play a total of eight games in December including a trip to FC Salzburg in the Champions League. The Reds face Watford at home in the Premier League on 14th before travelling to Qatar where they play twice on 18th and 21st. If that is not all, they will also have two more games to play in the next week with Leicester City and Wolves.
Considering the congestion of fixtures, Liverpool now face a dilemma over the Carabao Cup tie. Klopp has already hinted on forfeiting the trophy as it seems to be the only thing they can sacrifice as compared to the league and the international trophy.
Interestingly, rumours suggest that EFL is supposed to postpone the clash to 7th January, however nothing is official yet. While the possibility of postponement of the fixture by EFL cannot be ruled out yet, it will be something that Liverpool fans will be hoping for the most.