Fixture congestion was always going to be a thing in December and January. It always is in England at the best of times. And now with Liverpool doing well on all fronts, it’s about to become A THING. The next round of the EFL League Cup is set to take place in the week starting on December 16th. The problem? Liverpool are already committed to be in Qatar on December 18th for the FIFA Club World Cup.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp isn’t having it.
“We will not be the victim of this problem,” Kloppo said after the match. “The Carabao Cup...if they don’t find an appropriate place for us, not 3 a.m. on Christmas Day, then we don’t play it.
“FIFA told us the Club World Cup will be there and we have to come there and we will do. The Premier League tells us we have to play in the Premier League, which we do obviously.
“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.
“We wanted to win it, we did that, and 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 will play it,”
That’s about as definitive of an answer as Klopp can give on the subject. The next round starts December 16th. Liverpool Football Club will not be there. Liverpool Football Club will be in Qatar, fighting to be crowned World Champions for the first time ever.
The message is clear to the organizers of the competition: find a time that works for us, or we’re out. And we’re taking our millions of worldwide viewers with us.
The problem for the EFL is actually finding a time that works.
After returning from the international break on November 23rd, Liverpool have a Premier League or Champions League commitment every 3-5 days until their match against Watford on December 14th. Then they’re off to Qatar.
The rest of December and January isn’t promising either. The normal festive period from Boxing Day to January 2nd includes three matches, then the third round of the FA Cup comes in the gap immediately thereafter. And then there’s more league action, and the two-legged semifinal of the League Cup somewhere in there. Plus we still have to play the postponed match against West Ham in the league.
It’ll be interesting to see how the EFL responds to this. It’s not entirely clear what the best solution is, though after last night’s madness, I’m not sure too many would object to Arsenal taking our place while we jet off to Dubai.