Liverpool are due to face Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup on 17 December, with a FIFA Club World Cup semi-final to be played in Qatar on 18 December. Moving the Villa tie was an option that was explored, but existing fixture congestion made it impossible.
When the date for the Carabao Cup game was finally announced this week, a club statement conceded that it was not ‘an ideal scenario’, but no other dates were considered suitable.
Liverpool will now be sending one squad of players to Qatar and leaving a second squad behind to face Villa. These are extreme and exceptional circumstances, but Klopp is keen to fight the ongoing problem that is fixture congestion.
“We have to find solutions. The problems are obvious,” Klopp is quoted as saying by BBC Sport, with the German coach citing ‘every year’ as more of the same.
“Do we want to be in trouble with FIFA or the EFL? Probably not and we respect the competitions.”
Klopp questioned the need for the Carabao Cup semi-finals to be two-legged, one of the reasons the Aston Villa tie couldn’t be postponed until after Christmas. He also questioned the mid-season timing of the Club World Cup – the competition will be moved to summer as of 2021.
Klopp also expressed disdain for FA Cup replays, which may add even more to the fixture list in January, although they have been scrapped for later rounds of the competition.
“I don’t want to cancel competitions,” the Liverpool boss stressed. “I am from Germany - why would I want to cancel English competitions? It should still be possible and that is what I did but some people do not like it, I cannot change that.
“We cannot carry on like this, come on. We have to sit down on the table and at one point we have to find solutions. The solution so far are more problems.”
“We will ask Aston Villa if they can come to Qatar and we can play the game there,” he even joked.