Aston Villa boss Dean Smith 'very sympathetic' to Liverpool over Carabao Cup fixture chaos

Dean Smith says Villa are “very sympathetic” to the fixture conundrum facing Carabao Cup quarter-final opponents Liverpool.


              
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp before the Carabao Cup, Fourth Round match at Anfield, Liverpool. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 30, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp before the Carabao Cup, Fourth Round match at Anfield, Liverpool. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday October 30, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

The two clubs are scheduled to meet in the week commencing December 16 but the tie is set to be moved - most likely to January - due to the Reds involvement in the World Club Cup.

Liverpool and the EFL are currently in discussions over a new date and Villa are happy to comply with any decision made.

Boss Smith said: “It is a great draw for all of us. There’s a history between the two clubs in the competition and they are the current champions of Europe.

“I believe the EFL are liaising with Liverpool and our secretary has been in touch with the league as well. Listen, they have the World Club Cup to play so I’m very sympathetic with them.

“The EFL will run it by us to make sure it doesn’t affect us – but we don’t have the World Club Cup or the Champions League, so there’s more gaps in our calendar.”

Smith, meanwhile, backed Keinan Davis to return stronger after the striker was ruled out for three to four weeks with a hamstring injury sustained in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Wolves.

The 21-year-old had been handed a start after several impressive cameos off the bench in the Premier League.

Smith said: “Keinan is obviously disappointed because knows he was getting closer to starting a game.

“But it is football and it happens, you get knocks and it’s all about how you deal with it. He’s a strong lad and he knows we have lot belief in him. We believe he’s got the potential to become a really good Premier League centre-forward.”

The loss of Davis has been tempered by the return to fitness of Jonathan Kodjia, who made his first appearance since the opening day of the season when he came off the bench against Wolves.

Winger Jota is due to return to training next week after recovering from a hernia operation, while club captain James Chester will again feature for the under-23s when they face Newcastle on Monday at Villa Park. The Wales international was an unused substitute against Wolves.

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