Liverpool’s trip to the FIFA Club World Cup this month is an unwanted nuisance. The competition will add two matches to Liverpool’s incredibly busy December fixture list as they aim to win the Premier League for the first time.
Regardless if Liverpo0l lose their semifinal match in Qatar, they will play a third-place playoff game. The tourament offers two highly unwanted fixtures at this stage in the season as every team in the competition will aim to knockoff the Champions League winners.
The addition of the FIFA Club World Cup to Liverpool’s fixture list along with the team’s Carabao Cup fixture against Aston Villa the day prior have given the club the chance to further develop young players. While plenty of clubs talk up developing and playing youngsters, Liverpool are actually doing it this season.
Ki-Jana Hoever, Harvey Elliot, Neco Williams, Sepp van den Berg, Curtis Jones, and Rhian Brewster have all got match time this season and are about to get more.
Jurgen Klopp has revealed his 23-man roster for Liverpool’s trip to Qatar for the FIFA Club World Cup. Although Klopp’s 23-man squad is filled with veterans and youngsters, it is likely that Liverpool’s first match of the tournament will not involve all 23 of the players that have been listed. At least, some of those players will be joining the rest of the squad following the previous night’s Carabao Cup match.
Liverpool under-23 manager Neil Critchley will oversee Liverpool’s 17 December Carabao Cup match against Aston Villa. The team will see a host of young players aiming to topple Aston Villa in the quarterfinals. However, Klopp could leave behind one or two veterans to give the side leadership. Liverpool are expected to then fly the players who will compete against Aston Villa out to Qatar following the cup match.
A direct flight from northern England (Manchester International Airport) to Qatar takes less than seven hours. Liverpool will play one of three teams in the FIFA Club World Cup semifinals. Mexico’s Monterrey, Qatar’s Al-Sadd, or New Caledonia’s Hienghene Sport will meet the Reds in the semifinal with hopes of winning to go through to the final. Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal, Tunisia’s Esperance de Tunis, or Brazil’s Flamengo will play on the other side of the FIFA Club World Cup bracket.
Liverpool will be without two key players for the trip to Qatar. Centre-back Joel Matip and defensive midfielder Fabinho are both recovering from their respective injuries. Matip will hopefully be back after Christmas from a nagging knee issue. Fabinho suffered an ankle injury against Napoli in the Champions League in late November. He should be out of action until well into January.
Who is in Liverpool’s FIFA Club World Cup squad?
Alisson, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Lovren, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Mane, Salah, Gomez, Adrian, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Lonergan, Shaqiri, Brewster, Robertson, Origi, Jones, Alexander-Arnold, Elliott, Williams.
The combination of the two matches will see Liverpool’s squads play in the course of 24 hours and will give youngsters the chance to shine. Williams, Jones, Hoever, and Elliot have already shown themselves to be exciting young prospects and capable of taking places in the first team in the next few seasons. Having the chance to play in the Carabao Cup quarterfinals and/or the FIFA Club World Cup can only accelerate their development.