Liverpool ‘locked out’ by FIFA as Jürgen Klopp faces dilemma over one star for first time ever

It is still in the hands of the Reds to be at the top of the table on Christmas Day. That would be a legitimate honor, too — Manchester City will have played a game fewer by December 25, but the Reds could be as much as seven points clear of Pep Guardiola’s side.

It is Arsenal who need to be overtaken, and Liverpool will have the perfect opportunity when Mikel Arteta brings his side to Anfield.

There’s a League Cup quarter-final to navigate before that, too — all in all, while the performance and result against Manchester United has led to a crisis of confidence among the fanbase, it’s clear that the season is still ticking along very nicely, although it is certainly entering a crucial few days.

To be fair, Jürgen Klopp also has some legitimate questions to ask himself after the draw, with his side punished for a similar kind of performance to the ones that just about yielded results against Sheffield United and Crystal Palace.

There is a sense that Liverpool need to find a way to handle teams who turn up with limited attacking ambitions, content to take scraps on the counter.

Meanwhile, one player who has been first on the team sheet for months is now presenting Klopp with something of a dilemma.

On Sky Sports commentary, Jamie Carragher made a sadly apt point. He wondered aloud if fans of other clubs were wondering why Liverpool supporters had given Dominik Szoboszlai such glowing reviews in his opening weeks at Liverpool.

Not all of the Hungarian’s excellent early showings came in front of the cameras, and he has flattered to deceive in his last few outings now.

Those who tuned in for the huge Manchester United clash witnessed perhaps his worst showing yet, with Gary Neville suggesting it looked as though he and Mohamed Salah had their boots on the wrong feet.

After a remarkable early run of not only starting games but completing them, Szoboszlai now poses a dilemma for Klopp, writes David Comerford. Does the manager give him a rest, or does Liverpool need to hope for the spark to reignite amid this crucial but brutal period? Read the fully story here.

Liverpool will miss out on a potentially lucrative spot at the reimagined Club World Cup in 2025. That comes after FIFA confirmed that only two clubs from a given nation could take part, except in the event that three or more clubs from the same country win the Champions League within the qualifying four-year period.

Liverpool’s 2019 triumph falls one year outside the reference period for the inaugural edition of the restructured tournament. Its UEFA coefficient would still be enough to earn a spot via that route, but Chelsea and Manchester City have both claimed spots as Champions League winners between 2020 and 2024.

Klopp will probably be delighted at avoiding another massive blow to manageable player workloads, writes James Martin, but Liverpool will miss the expected windfall of £50m.



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