Belfast Telegraph

Club World Cup causes a fixture headache for Klopp's Reds

 

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp

By Carl Markham

Liverpool are facing a potential fixture backlog now the dates for this season's Club World Cup have been confirmed by FIFA.

Jurgen Klopp's side qualified for the competition by winning the Champions League last season, beating Tottenham in the final.

The Reds were still waiting for an official invite to the tournament earlier this week despite the fact FIFA announced Qatar as hosts in early June.

But now it's been confirmed Liverpool will be taking part in the competition, which takes place just before Christmas.

They enter the tournament at the semi-final stage, which is scheduled to happen on Wednesday, December 18, while both the final and third-place play-off take place on Saturday, December 21.

This means at least one of Liverpool's fixtures would need to be rearranged as they have a trip to West Ham in the Premier League currently scheduled for December 21.

Meanwhile, if the Reds reach the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, a new date would need to be found for that tie as the matches for that stage of the competition will take place on December 17/18.

There are eight teams competing in the Club World Cup, with Liverpool already confirmed alongside Monterrey (Mexico), Hienghene Sport (New Caledonia) and Al-Sadd, from Qatar.

Liverpool last took part in the tournament in December 2005 but lost 1-0 in the final to Sao Paolo in Japan.

Klopp has declared that Liverpool have effectively replaced this summer's transfer business with a spate of new contracts for their star men.

The Reds have been quiet in the market since the latest window opened, with the £1.3million capture of teenage defender Sepp van den Berg from PEC Zwolle representing their only signing thus far.

The Merseyside club have, however, been busy tying down key players in the last 12 months, with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold among those to have penned fresh terms recently.

And Klopp believes that ensuring his Champions League-winning squad stays together is just as important as adding new talent.

He said: "That's actually our transfers, these are our transfers.

"I'm pretty sure nobody is interested in it really because, how it is: you have a player, he's good, you want to keep him, if he signs a new contract then for a few people it means only that he's a bit more expensive if you want to sell him.

"These new contracts, keeping these boys here, was a strong, strong signal for the outside world.

"I like the fact that these boys are really in a good football age, they won this cup, which is good.

"(Before), 'Are you a winner?' People question you and we are all influenced by the outside world so if you don't win anything you can't say, 'I'm a winner but it didn't work out yet'.

"On the other hand, to go through the darker moments together is very, very important. You have to lose big to realise you are not a loser.

"All these things made us stronger and I'm happy that they keep these boys together and they went through all these things."

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