Carabao Cup: EFL open to moving Liverpool’s quarter-final against Aston Villa to January


Liverpool due to play at FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar in December during week of Carabao Cup quarter-finals

Curtis Jones scored the decisive penalty for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side at Anfield on Wednesday night
 

The EFL are open to rearranging Liverpool’s Carabao Cup quarter-final tie against Aston Villa for the week of the semi-final first-leg ties.

Jurgen Klopp threatened to pull out of the competition if the fixture is unable to be rearranged to avoid a clash with the FIFA Club World Cup as he expressed his concerns over Liverpool's fixture pile-up.

The quarter-finals are scheduled to be played the week commencing December 16 but Liverpool are set to play in the Club World Cup semi-finals in Qatar on December 18.

The EFL said on Thursday morning it is in discussions with Liverpool to "identify an alternative date" with the club for their Carabao Cup quarter-final tie.

One of a number of options being discussed could see the all-Premier League meeting at Villa Park be played on the week beginning January 6 - the same week the semi-finals are scheduled for.

This would mean the EFL would need to find an extra date in January to accommodate an additional fixture, but there will be no change to the scheduled final on March 1.

The Premier League leaders also have a league game with West Ham to be rescheduled due to their visit to Asia, and have six midweek fixtures in a row pencilled in between November 27 and January 2.

Following Liverpool's penalty shoot-out win against Arsenal in the fourth round, Klopp told Sky Sports: "It shows the problem we have in the Premier League that no one cares about things like this, so that's how it is.

 
 
Highlights of the Carabao Cup last-16 match between Liverpool and Arsenal

"The competition is there, we play the game, if we have no time for the next round we cannot change it.

"FIFA tells us we have to go to the Club World Cup, the Premier League tell us we have to play in the Carabao Cup so we try to play it, but if we don't find time it will not happen in our winter break or whatever they give us, because we need that.

"So, I don't care to be honest. It just shows what the problem is. Everybody wants us to play constantly, we've just thought about tonight - we're not thinking about the next round."

In his post-match press conference, he added: "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.

"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."

Klopp: We take Carabao Cup seriously

When Liverpool's line-up to face Arsenal was announced ahead of kick-off, Klopp was fully anticipating accusations that he wasn't taking the competition seriously after making 11 changes from their weekend win over Tottenham.

But he told Sky Sports: "It's not true. We cannot do it differently, we had to make a lot of changes, but we made them because we trust the boys. How they played tonight, I loved it, really.

Gabriel Martinelli had put Arsenal 3-1 ahead in the first half
Gabriel Martinelli had put Arsenal 3-1 ahead in the first half

"In the end, it was about encouragement to get them to keep going. That was the job to do and they did, with the team they had tonight having 60, 65 per cent possession is crazy.