Dalglish furious at cup fixture pile-up

Liverpool manager hints fans may want to miss quarter-final at Chelsea as he play youngsters

The Liverpool manager, Kenny Dalglish, has launched a blistering attack on the "disgraceful" fixture scheduling which will see his side play two matches in 48 hours – Manchester City in a 4pm kick-off on Sunday 27 November, before travelling to London for their Carling Cup quarter-final with Chelsea just two days later.

Attempts to have one of the matches rescheduled have failed and Dalglish has taken the unprecedented step of warning fans they should consider whether or not to buy tickets for the cup tie as he may field a youth team at Stamford Bridge.

"It is disgraceful in this day and age that players are being asked to play a key Premier League game and then a League Cup quarter-final in London just 48 hours later," he told liverpoolfc.tv.

"It's understandable with the Spurs v PAOK Salonika [Europa League] match and the TUC rally that the Met Police have said that our game cannot be played on the Wednesday. But it's surely the duty of the football authorities to think of other solutions which consider the welfare of the players and this clearly hasn't happened.

"When we ask the Football League to move our game to a later date, we're told it's impossible. Where's the logic in that? If the Football League want to devalue their own competition, that's up to them, but they shouldn't then be upset if people use these games to help in the development of young players.

"The one thing I will say to our fans is to think carefully before buying tickets for the League Cup game. We do not want them spending their money and then we decide there is no other option but to use only young players," said Dalglish.

"Both ourselves and Manchester City were happy for the league game to be moved back to the Saturday so we both had proper time to prepare, but again we are told by the Premier League that this is not possible either for TV reasons and just to get on with it.

"Ian Ayre [Liverpool's managing director] specifically consulted with the Premier League, who had some discussion with Sky, but neither were able to accommodate our position."

Dalglish believes the Football League, which organises the Carling Cup, has shot itself in the foot with the scheduling. "Here you have two clubs who have treated this competition with utmost respect over the years and they are being treated like this," he said. "I'd be interested to know what the sponsors think of the situation and what it does for the reputation of the competition.

"It seems totally irresponsible as well that the quarter-finals are scheduled in the same week as Europa League games. If Stoke had beaten us in the last round and were through to face Chelsea then the tie gets rescheduled for another date – it's as simple as that.

"What would have happened if all four of the English clubs playing in the Europa League had got through to the [Carling Cup] quarter-finals?"

Football League chiefs have defended the scheduling of the tie, insisting there were no alternative dates which would not have created other issues. "Matches could not be scheduled on the night of Wednesday, November 30 due to the TUC rally taking place in central London that day," said a spokesman. "Despite extensive efforts, no alternative solution could be found that was acceptable to all parties. Therefore the only remaining option was to schedule the match during the week reserved for the competition."

PA

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