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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 28 January 2021

How Liverpool could line-up for Carabao Cup and Club World Cup fixtures in successive days

Fixture congestion means Jurgen Klopp's side are due to play in Qatar a day after facing Aston Villa in the UK

The festive period in December has always been a busy one for clubs in England – but it doesn't come much busier than Liverpool's schedule.

Jurgen Klopp's side are competing in the Club World Cup in Qatar on December 18, and have now confirmed that they will be facing Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup quarter-final only 24 hours earlier on December 17.

These two matches come only days after their Premier League fixture against Watford on Saturday, December 14.

"...We will be utilising two playing squads simultaneously, with one squad participating in the Fida Club World Cup in Qatar and another in the Carabao Cup," Liverpool said.

"The club would like to take this opportunity to underline that while this is not an ideal scenario, it is an outcome which was arrived at with the best interests of the competition, our fellow clubs and ourselves as the sole motivating factor."

How will Liverpool approach this?

There's a few ways Liverpool could do this.

One would be to take a first-team squad to Qatar, given that their Club World Cup participation is as a result of their Champions League success and the competition holds a reasonable level of prestige.

That would mean fielding a youthful team in the Carabao Cup, and hope it is enough to compete with what is expected to be an experienced Aston Villa team given how close they are to a cup final and a rare chance of silverware.

Alternatively, Klopp could mix and match his two teams, say with six or seven first-choice players in each which would give Liverpool a decent chance of winning both matches (see team A in the slide show at the top and team B below). They would then pad out each squad with youngsters.

Or, a third way would be to play a few first-team players in the Carabao Cup and then fly them out to Qatar in the hope that Liverpool make it past the semi-final of the Club World Cup, and have them in the line-up for the final, assuming that they make it that far.

What did Klopp have to say?

He joked that he had asked Aston Villa to travel to Qatar to play the fixture there instead of in Birmingham.

But as it stands he was non-committal on how he will pick a squad for each match.

"We have an idea how we do it, but it's too early to speak about it," he said. "We made a decision because all the other alternatives were more problems than solutions, so we said 'OK'.

"This is how we can do it as good as possible for us. We have a bit of time to think about that, and more important things to do.

"In these next couple of weeks, we will make a decision about how it will look exactly. But in the end, they [Aston Villa] will play a Liverpool team, 100 per cent."

Which team is stronger?

Updated: November 6, 2019 11:04 AM

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