Thursday 22 March 2018

Liverpool fury at league chiefs over two-day Carling Cup turnaround

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool are embroiled in a furious row with the Football League after being ordered to play their Carling Cup quarter-final against Chelsea just 48 hours after a key Premier League fixture.

The Merseyside club are unhappy they must travel to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, November 29 -- two days after they face Manchester City at Anfield. An appeal to both the tournament organisers and the Premier League to rethink the schedule to preserve the integrity of the cup competition has been rejected.

City find themselves in the same position as Liverpool, as they must travel to London to face Arsenal in their quarter-final immediately after their visit to Anfield. However, Robert Mancini's side -- with a vastly deeper squad and other priorities -- are understood to be more relaxed about honouring both fixtures within such a short period.

Liverpool had expected to head to Chelsea for a Wednesday evening kick-off, but the Football League claimed it could not do so because of police advice.

There is a trade union rally in central London on that day and Spurs are playing at home to PAOK Salonika in the Europa League.

Manager Kenny Dalglish is deeply concerned Liverpool will not have any time to train for a game ranked as one of the most important of their season. After a brief warm-down on Monday after the City game, Liverpool will have to make their 200-mile journey to London.

Chelsea, in comparison, play Wolves at home on Saturday, November 26, giving them an obvious advantage. Liverpool appealed to the Football League for this to be taken into consideration.

Liverpool are especially unhappy with their treatment, given how they have supported the League Cup, not only throughout their history, but during the course of this season. They boast the record number of wins in the tournament and the record number of appearances in the final.

Dalglish has played a strong side throughout the early rounds this season and it has become a major priority due to a lack of European competition.

Meanwhile, the Liverpool boss has dismissed "diving" claims against Luis Suarez and urged the Uruguayan striker to carry on "running amok" in opposing defences.

"They can keep talking and the wee man will keep playing, running amok, going past people, creating chances, scoring a few goals,'' said Dalglish, whose side face Swansea today.

In other news, Liverpool have opened contract negotiations with captain Steven Gerrard as the club's American owners look to keep him at Anfield.

Despite his absence through injury, owners Fenway Sports Group have already held discussions with Gerrard's representatives about lengthening his deal.

The 31-year-old has 18 months left on his contract, but from the moment they bought the club over a year ago FSG have made it clear they wish Gerrard to spend the remainder of his career at his boyhood team.

The same applies to vice-captain Jamie Carragher, who signed a three-year deal last year prior to the takeover but is seen as integral to the club's identity. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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