Aston Villa beat Wolves in the EFL Cup Round of 16 meaning next up they take on Liverpool in the quarter-finals next month.
While obviously, Liverpool will be the favourites to go through but as things stand, Aston Villa could be the team to move to the semis possibly without even playing a single minute of the match.
Well, as things stand, Liverpool play Aston Villa on the 17th of December and then just 24 hours later they have to take part in the Club World Cup semi-finals.
So right now there is a big dilemma over which competition should Liverpool give priority to since the EFL Cup match will not be postponed.
Earlier this month, Jurgen Klopp had hinted at the possibility of pulling out of the EFL Cup in order to focus on the Club World Cup. And now Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has also insisted that the club will try and win the international trophy.
“It is important with a ‘culture of victory’ because each prize we can win is important, so we try to attack each competition we play,” Lijnders told the Liverpool FC official magazine[as reported].
“But, for me, the most important thing is the chance to show, in a different part of the world, our identity and our philosophy and a real spirit of initiative.
“In a perfect world, people should look forward to seeing us play. As regards [to] changing between England and Qatar, we already have the people in charge who are preparing to make this process as smooth as possible.
“We have to ignore what’s beyond our control whatever the circumstances. This is what we always try to do, but in these periods, it will be even more the case.
“It would be incredible to become champions of the world. Not many big teams get this chance. It’s a mark, a stamp of a strong process over many years.
“We have to think about the semi-final first, it’s the first step and the only one that counts at the moment. We will show we care and we will show what we want to achieve. We will fight for a result and make it an intense game from our side.
“It’s different when you come back as the winning team, that’s for sure!
“For me, the most important aspect is to keep the team fresh during this period, knowing that what puts us above the rest is our mentality. We will always focus and what we can control.”
So obviously Liverpool are focusing on the Club World Cup which could now mean just two things.
Either the Reds name a second-string side against Aston Villa on the 17th of next and then take their main side to Qatar or pull out of the EFL Cup altogether.
In the first instance, Aston Villa would still have to play the match but their chances of moving to the next round will increase significantly but in the second scenario, the Villans will get a walk-through and automatically move to the next semi-final.