Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes that the Reds should write off the Carabao Cup if it means giving themselves a better chance of winning the Premier League and Club World Cup.
Jurgen Klopp’s team currently have an eight-point lead at the top of the league but have not been crowned champions of England since 1990, while they face into an intense period of 14 games in six weeks, including a Carabao Cup quarter-final and Club World Cup semi-final within 24 hours of each other (as per talkSPORT).
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Carragher reckons that the Reds will need to prioritise some competitions over others, given the hectic fixture schedule, saying: “Nothing can get in the way of Liverpool winning the league. Nothing.”
He added: “The Aston Villa game in the Carabao Cup? If Liverpool get through they will have two semi-finals to play then and that cannot get in the way of Liverpool winning the league.
“What I mean by that is do not play anyone in your first XI in that Carabao Cup team. Not one.”
Carragher continued: “The Club World Cup, for me, is very important. A lot of people outside Liverpool don’t understand that. But really it’s massive for Liverpool. They have never won it before. To be able to say you’re the world champions.
“Liverpool have won the League Cup a record amount of times and will have other chances again. It might be another 20 years before we get the chance to become world champions again.”
Given Liverpool’s record in the various competitions over the years, it’s not hard to see why Carragher would be happy to sacrifice the Carabao Cup if it would help their chances of winning the Premier League and Club World Cup.
The Reds have won the League Cup eight times, more than any other club, and prior to their Champions League triumph in June it gave them their most recent trophy success (in 2012).
By contrast, it will be 30 years next May since their last league title, which came before the advent of the Premier League, with five second-place finishes representing their best efforts in the meantime. [via TransferMarkt]
Despite being champions of Europe six times, Liverpool have never won the Club World Cup in any of its guises, with Carragher being part of the team that lost the final to Brazil’s Sao Paulo in 2005.
The good news for the ex-Reds defender is that Klopp is quite likely to field a second-string team for the Carabao Cup quarter-final at Aston Villa, with a separate squad travelling to Qatar for the global competition that week and the manager ringing the changes in previous rounds against MK Dons and Arsenal.
Liverpool can have very realistic aspirations of winning the Premier League and Club World Cup, with an eight-point lead in the former and only two victories needed in the latter, so Carragher is quite justified in saying that defeat in the Carabao Cup may be a small price to pay if the Reds can go on to win either (or both) of the other competitions.
Liverpool fans, do you agree with Carragher’s views on sacrificing the Carabao Cup if it would help towards Premier League and Club World Cup glory? Comment below with your views!
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