Jurgen Klopp has said there is no resolution in sight regarding Liverpool’s fixture pile-up after they advanced to the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup.
Liverpool won 5-4 on penalties against Arsenal on Wednesday to set up a quarterfinal with Aston Villa, but their progression to the last eight has caused a problem.
Klopp’s men will face three Premier League fixtures, including the first Merseyside derby of the season, in December before travelling to Qatar to take part in the Club World Cup. They’ll play two fixtures should they reach the final, with the first on Dec. 18. They then return to England to face Leicester City on Dec. 26.
The Carabao Cup quarterfinals are due to take place while Liverpool are in Qatar while a Premier League tie with West Ham will also need to be rearranged, leaving the Reds facing a fixture pile-up, leading to a suggestion from Klopp the club could forfeit the tie against Villa.
“If they don’t find a place for us — an appropriate place — not 3 a.m. on Christmas Day, then we don’t play it,” Klopp said in his postmatch news conference after the win against Arsenal.
Ahead of a trip to Villa in the Premier League on Saturday, Klopp said: “It’s obvious that it’s too much, absolutely obvious. Everybody involved in the game will tell you. But let’s have a look how they deal with it.
“We can’t go there [Qatar] with 11 players to play two games and the rest play Aston Villa in England. It doesn’t work like that. We will make a decision but not yet. We discussed it. We have to. No final decision. If we did play while in Qatar it would be two different teams.
“We wonder why the best players in the world cannot perform as good as they can for as long as they want.
“People say: ‘have a bigger squad.’ In the moment, it’s an imbalance between squad numbers and the amount of breaks they need.
“Two weeks off a year is not enough.”
Klopp, meanwhile, is yet to decide whether or not to risk Fabinho against Villa with the Brazilian one yellow card away from suspension. A booking this weekend would mean that the midfielder is suspended for Manchester City’s visit to Anfield next weekend.
“I don’t know yet [if he will rest Fabinho]. We will see. Do I say ‘no challenges at all?’ That’s not possible against Aston Villa. The player knows it, I know it. I haven’t made a final decision.