Dalglish: Carling Cup schedule ‘disgraceful’

Kenny Dalglish has threatened to field a youth team in Liverpool’s Carling Cup quarter-final at Chelsea in protest at "disgraceful" scheduling.

In an unprecedented move the Reds boss has warned fans they should carefully consider whether to buy a ticket for the match at Stamford Bridge as he does not want them to be short-changed if he goes through with his plan.

Dalglish is unhappy that his side will have to play matches against two of their biggest rivals within just over 48 hours of each other.

Liverpool host Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday November 27 in a 4pm kick off for live television and must then go to London for their Carling Cup quarter-final the following Tuesday.

"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?" questioned the Scot.

"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.

"I’d be interested to know what the sponsors think of the situation and what it does for the reputation of the competition.

"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 in the tie."

The Football League have defended the scheduling, stressing other events in the capital – including Tottenham’s Europa League game and a Trades Union Congress march – and a lack of viable alternative dates left them with no choice.

Dalglish is unconvinced another solution could not have been found, however.

"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," added the Reds boss on liverpoolfc.tv.

"It seems totally irresponsible as well that the quarter-finals are scheduled in the same week as Europa League games.

"It’s understandable with the Spurs v PAOK Salonika 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.

"Manchester City are in a similar position to us with their game at Arsenal (on the same night) and it’s for them to argue their case but it is my job to stand up for the interests of Liverpool Football Club."

Football League chiefs have defended the scheduling of the tie, insisting there were no alternatives which would not have created other issues.

"The Football League has been engaged in lengthy discussions with clubs, the Premier League and the Metropolitan police regarding the scheduling of the two Carling Cup quarter-final ties due to be played in London in the week commencing November 26," said a spokesman.

"This followed confirmation that the matches could not be scheduled on the night of Wednesday, November 30 due to the TUC rally taking place in central London that day.

"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 on the only available day."

Liverpool even tried to bring their Premier League fixture with City forward to buy themselves some breathing space.

"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," said Dalglish.

"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."

Although the live screening was an issue there were other factors taken into account by the Premier League, such as the inconvenience to fans who had already made travel plans and other arrangements.