Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp will gather with his players on Tuesday in their Doha team hotel — to watch Liverpool in action back in England in the League Cup.
The bizarre situation has come about because the European champions are in Qatar ahead of Wednesday’s Club World Cup semi-final against Mexico’s Monterrey. But a fixture clash means another Liverpool team, made up of youth players, will be facing Aston Villa around 24 hours earlier.
Liverpool’s Under-23 coach Neil Critchley will be in charge of the team at Villa Park and Klopp said he and the first-team squad will be supporting them from afar in their quarter-final.
The runaway Premier League leaders will watch the first game of the Club World Cup last four at the Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium, between Brazilian’s Flamengo and Asian champions Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia before rushing back to their hotel.
“It’s good. Tomorrow night we start with watching the other semi-final live in the stadium, I think it should be possible. And then we will leave there a bit earlier and sit here in front of the television and watch that game,” said Klopp.
“It will be absolutely exciting. I’m really delighted for the boys.”
To add to the complications, the Under-23 side has been weakened further with Curtis Jones and Neco Williams called up to be part of the team in Qatar.
But Klopp says he has faith that the youthful side will be able to put in a strong performance against more experienced opponents.
“I know how a lot of people in the public see it, but if all the football games would be decided before we start, only because of the perception of the people, then most of the games wouldn’t be played. I believe, I’m a big believer in everybody has a chance,” he said.
“From the boys’ point of view, if I would be in their boots I would be excited like hell, looking forward to it like hell, run for my life, all that stuff.”
“Just give it a proper try and we will sit and will be with them. All our thoughts are with them, the more experienced players are looking forward to it to watch the game and shout them forward from here,” he added.
“Aston Villa is the big favourite, that’s clear, but who cares? It’s football and the ball rolls in each direction, that’s pretty cool.”
Some of the youngsters could even play themselves into contention for a trip to Qatar.
“I believe there might be a plane waiting for one or two, it might depend on how they play tomorrow. I’m hoping to sneak on myself,” Critchley said.
Reuters | DOHA