Liverpool will play their League Cup quarter-final clash with Aston Villa less than 24 hours before their Club World Cup semi-final in Qatar.
The Reds will visit Villa Park on December 17, with kickoff at 7.45pm, then play in the Club World Cup semi-final over 3,000 miles away at 5.30pm (GMT) on December 18.
This means that two separate squads will be used by Jurgen Klopp across the two continents.
Liverpool requested the date, and confirmed in a statement on Tuesday 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.”
Assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders is expected to manage one side, and though it remains to be seen which competition the Reds will prioritise, a stronger squad can be expected for the Club World Cup.
A statement on the EFL website explained that “Liverpool [are] committing to fielding a team that is largely consistent with those that have participated in earlier rounds of this season’s competition.”
This would theoretically see Lijnders lead a youthful selection to the West Midlands, after the likes of Rhian Brewster, Harvey Elliott, Caoimhin Kelleher, Neco Williams and Sepp van den Berg all debuted in the League Cup.
Liverpool’s December Fixtures
Dec 4th: Everton (H) – 8.15pm – Amazon
Dec 7th: Bournemouth (A) – 3pm
Dec 10th: Salzburg (A) – 5.55pm – BT Sport
Dec 14th: Watford (H) – 12.30pm – BT Sport
Dec 17th: Aston Villa (A) – 7.45pm – Sky Sports
Dec 18th: Club World Cup Semi-Final – 5.30pm (UK)
Dec 22nd: Club World Cup Final or Third Place Play Off – 5.30pm (UK)
Dec 26th: Leicester (A) – 8pm – Amazon
Dec 29th: Wolves (H) – 2pm – Sky Sports
Jan 2nd: Sheffield United (H) – 8pm – BT Sport
It is a remarkable situation borne of the success of last season, with triumph in the Champions League final securing a place at the Club World Cup.