Jurgen Klopp would prefer to play in a one-off League Cup semi-final, and forego any home advantage, to ease the workload on his players. Liverpool progressed to the last four after a 5-4 penalty shootout victory over Leicester City.
Klopp’s side came from 3-1 down with Takumi Minamino scoring a dramatic equaliser in the 95th minute. The home side then went on to win the resulting penalty shootout thanks to Diogo Jota’s spot kick and Caoimhim Kelleher’s saves from Luke Thomas and Ryan Bertrand.
However, with Liverpool now facing five matches in 12 days, Klopp would like the semi-final, where they will play against Arsenal, to be a single-leg affair.
“I think it would be better with one game absolutely, but obviously what I say is not too important,” he said after making 10 changes for the quarter-final with three academy players in his starting line-up and five on the bench. “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.”
'Keeper saved our lives'
The Liverpool manager heaped praise on his deputy goalkeeper who saved two Leicester spot-kicks. That came after Kelleher had kept his side in the contest by palming away Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s second-half shot. The Irish goalkeeper had been left exposed for both of Jamie Vardy’s goals in the first half due to lax defending.
“It is not the first time he was part of these spectacular games, against Arsenal [the 2019 5-5 League Cup draw which they won on penalties] it was similar but this a step forward and he saved our life, he was really helpful tonight,” Klopp said.