Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte have called for one-legged Carabao Cup semi-final ties in a bid to ease English football’s fixture congestion.
Liverpool and Tottenham sealed their respective passages to the last four of the competition on Wednesday evening, the former set to face Arsenal in the semi-finals after beating Leicester on penalties following a thrilling draw at Anfield.
With concerns over increasing Covid-19 absences and a host of postponed Premier League fixtures in recent weeks, both Conte and Klopp have called for the Carabao Cup to alter its format.
“Honestly if I have to decide, maybe it would be to play one game and not two games,” Conte said. “Especially for the situation we are living. But we have to respect the rules.”
“Many players that played had Covid. At one point of the game the intensity dropped and for this reason I made the substitutions.
“It was good to not concede a goal and to reach the semi-final but I know we had to manage this situation, and also this Sunday (against Crystal Palace) and then Tuesday (against Southampton).
“This period will be very tough for us. With an important problem like Covid, I have to manage. In this situation I’m giving the chance to my players to show me they deserve to play for Tottenham and stay here. This is one positive aspect.”
Klopp echoed Conte’s thoughts on the competition, admitting he would be happy for his side’s semi-final to take place at Arsenal in a bid to ease the concerns over congestion.
“I think it would be better with one game absolutely, but obviously what I say is not too important,” said the Liverpool boss.
“If there are two games, then we will play two games. But it would be helpful if there was only one, true.
“The draw has us at Arsenal, I’m fine with that, we play there and see who is better and go for it.
“I don’t just speak about player welfare this year, I have been speaking about it for six years or maybe longer. If the things I say would help more, I would say it much more often. But it doesn’t help. The only thing I do with these messages is I create headlines. They never arrive at the right places.
“Tomorrow we have a meeting at 4pm but it’s with the Premier League and not with the EFL, I’m not sure if they are involved or not. I said it before, I would prefer only one semi-final. But I can’t see any kind of changes actually.”