Liverpool have named their squad for the Club World Cup in Qatar, with a couple of surprise youngsters included with the senior side.
Jurgen Klopp‘s team now face Bournemouth in the Premier League and Salzburg in the Champions League—then it’s one more game against bottom club Watford, before the Reds are off to try to become the greatest side on the planet, officially.
With the League Cup quarter-final taking place one day before the Club World Cup semis, though, it was expected that Klopp would take his seniors and leave the youngsters to play in the domestic cup—but even that inexperienced side will now be without a couple of regular names.
Klopp will potentially play a rotated side in the semi-finals, likely against Mexican outfit Monterrey, before using a full-strength team in the final, assuming the Reds get there.
“The EFL has long-acknowledged that this competition provides those clubs with large resources with the opportunity to rotate their squads knowing that teams who wish to be successful have to be prepared to play a large amount of matches over the course of the season.
“Therefore, in these exceptional circumstances the decision was taken having received clear assurances from the club that there will be a level of consistency in team selection, a feature which is key to ensuring integrity is maintained.”
Given the players left behind, it’s now possible to suggest the lineup which might face Aston Villa in the quarter-final…and it’s a tremendously inexperienced one.
Possible XI vs. Villa: Kelleher; Hoever, Koumetio, Van den Berg, Larouci; Dixon-Bonner, Chirivella, Kane, Lewis; Longstaff, Stewart.
Only five of those have featured in the cup so far, while Koumetio, Larouci, Lewis and Longstaff have all also been sub.
Either way, it appears that the League Cup is now below even the possibility of training with the seniors in the order of priority for Liverpool, given Jones and Co. may not see too much game time in Qatar.
Edit: Further plans were revealed afterwards suggesting Liverpool hope to play four players against Villa before flying them out to Qatar – see here for more details.
Liverpool squad for Club World Cup
Defenders: Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson, N.Williams
Midfielders: Milner, Keita, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Jones
Forwards: Salah, Firmino, Mane, Origi, Shaqiri, Brewster, Elliott