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Jurgen Klopp has warned the English Football League that Liverpool will forfeit their Carabao Cup quarterfinal if a sensible date cannot be found for the fixture.
The European champions defeated Arsenal 5-4 on penalties after a riveting 5-5 draw at Anfield on Wednesday night to progress to the next round of the competition.
Now a scheduling headache awaits both the EFL and Liverpool as the quarterfinal stage of the tournament is due to be played in the week commencing Dec. 16, which is when Klopp’s men begin their Club World Cup campaign in Qatar.
“If they don’t find a place for us — an appropriate place — not 3am on Christmas Day, then we don’t play it,” the Reds boss said in his post-match press conference.
“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 the fixture list.
“Hopefully, it starts now. I really think that’s fair — this problem is obvious now. We will not be the victim of this problem.”
Liverpool’s December schedule features five matches in the first two weeks. They host Everton (Dec. 4) and visit AFC Bournemouth (Dec. 7) in Premier League play before travelling to FC Salzburg (Dec. 10) in Champions League group stage action. They then host Watford on Dec. 14 before travelling to Qatar.
Their first match in Qatar will be on Dec. 18, and then will play either the final or third-place match on Dec. 21 before returning to England for their Dec. 26 league tilt vs. Leicester City.
“We played tonight, we wanted to win it, we did that,” Klopp said. “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 plays it.
“I think a lot people from the Premier League were watching on TV and hoping that Arsenal can do it — I’m sorry!”
The quarterfinal draw for the Carabao Cup will take place on Thursday, October 31.
Klopp also spoke about midfielder Naby Keita, who had to withdraw from the Arsenal match with an injury.
“If Naby’s injury is not so serious, which I hope, then it was a nearly perfect night,” Klopp said. “He felt a little bit. I saw it, he slipped when he lost the ball. He slipped away, I saw him limping afterwards and that’s why we did it.”