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Klopp hints at Carabao Cup quarter-final boycott as Liverpool fixtures begin to pile up

10:12 am AEDT 31/10/19
Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2019-20
The Reds' coach was adamant his team would not play in their upcoming last-eight match unless an acceptable time slot is found

Liverpool may boycott their Carabao Cup quarter-final tie unless a suitable date can be organised for the fixture, according to coach Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds progressed to the last eight of the tournament after twice coming from two goals down to beat Arsenal on penalties following a 5-5 draw at the end of 90 minutes at Anfield.

With the EFL wanting to schedule the Carabao Cup last-eight matches on the week commencing December 16, Liverpool will be unable to participate as they head to Qatar for their Club World Cup semi-final on December 18.

In this situation, another spare midweek date would be found, but the Reds have Champions League commitments and Premier League matches taking up possible slots until the beginning of 2020.

Klopp insisted that his team would only play in the quarter-final if the EFL could find an acceptable date amid their busy fixture list.

"If they don't find an appropriate place - and I don't mean Christmas Day 3am - then we don't play [the game], " Klopp said following the Arsenal victory.

"If they don't find a proper date and we can't play the next round, then whoever our opponent is will go through, or Arsenal play.

"I think a lot of people from the Premier League were sitting watching on television hoping Arsenal can do it. But I'm sorry."

Liverpool currently have nine days free between their Premier League matches against Sheffield United (January 2) and Tottenham (January 11), but this period is set aside for the third round of the FA Cup.

The Reds secured their place in Thursday's draw after a stunning come-from-behind victory against the Gunners, after trailing 3-1 and 4-2 before equalising in stoppage time and winning 5-4 on penalties.

Klopp side's took a sixth minute lead when Arsenal centre-half Shkodran Mustafi diverted Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross past his own goalkeeper.

But half-hour later the Gunners were up 3-1 as Lucas Torreira was first to a rebound from close range and 18-year-old striker Gabriel Martinelli underlined his burgeoning reputation with two crisp finishes.

James Milner pulled a goal back from the spot just prior to half-time but Ainsley Maitland-Niles re-established Arsenal's two-goal lead following an poor backpass from Reds skipper Milner.

Two strikes in four minutes from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi levelled the tie at 4-4 after 62 minutes, but Joe Willock killed Liverpool's momentum with a 30-yard thunderbolt.

It looked as if Arsenal boss Unai Emery had secured a pressure-relieving victory until Origi popped up in stoppage time with an acrobatic finish to send the tie to penalties.

Eighteen-year-old Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones scored the winning penalty, with on-loan Gunners playmaker Dani Ceballos the only player to miss from the spot.