Liverpool have confirmed their Carabao Cup quarter final tie will be played on Tuesday 17 December, a day before the Reds also feature in the semi-finals of the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar.
It means that Liverpool will simultaneously be using two wholly different squads for the two games just a day apart, as the club’s already congested fixture list made it impossible for the domestic cup tie to be played at any other time.
A statement from Liverpool explained: “The club would like to take this opportunity to underline that while this is not an ideal scenario, it is an outcome which was arrived at with the best interests of the competition, our fellow clubs and ourselves as the sole motivating factor.
“We would like to thank the EFL for their efforts to accommodate us and we can confirm alternative dates were discussed, but ultimately none were considered suitable without compromising the scheduling of the competition itself or placing an undue strain on our playing staff.”
Liverpool had already been forced to postpone a Premier League fixture against West Ham owing to their participation in the Club World Cup, where they will represent Europe as a result of winning the Champions League last season.
But a lack of other midweek availability in December and the scheduling of the Carabao Cup semi-finals in early January ensured Liverpool had little choice but to stick with the original date of the last eight tie and split their resources across the two competitions.
It remains to be seen how exactly Liverpool plan to do this. But the likely scenario is the bulk of the first-team squad heads to Qatar, and a predominantly young group of players, many of whom have already played in the previous rounds of the Carabao Cup, will face Villa.