Dates for Liverpool’s involvement in FIFA Club World Cup confirmed with Champions League winners going straight through to semi-finals

5 Sep

Liverpool now know when they will be playing at this year’s FIFA Club World Cup.

The Reds were invited after winning the Champions League last season when they beat Tottenham in the final in Madrid.

Liverpool are reigning European champions having defeated Tottenham in June’s Champions League final
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The seven-team tournament is taking place in Qatar and will pit the winners of FIFA’s six continental confederations and the league champions of the host nation.

Liverpool are just one of three confirmed participants so far alongside 2019 Concacaf Champions League winners CF Monterrey and OFC Champions League holders Hienghene Sport.

The first round of the competition takes place on December 11 but Jurgen Klopp’s side will go straight into the semi-final stage.

The semi-finals will be played on December 17 and 18 with the final on December 21. There will also be a third-place play-off on the same date.

Liverpool last took part in the competition in 2005 after winning the Champions League in Istanbul.

During that tournament, they were beaten by Sao Paulo in the final.

Champions League winners have won the last six competitions with Real Madrid claiming the last three trophies.

The Reds were due to play West Ham on December 21 in the Premier League but this fixture has now been postponed and will be rescheduled.

Liverpool news: Jurgen Klopp’s men facing Christmas fixture pile-up as FIFA announce Club World Cup dates

26 Jul

Liverpool are facing a potential fixture headache now the dates for this season’s Club World Cup have been confirmed by FIFA.

Jurgen Klopp’s side qualified for the competition by winning the Champions League last season, beating Tottenham in the final.

Liverpool are in the Club World Cup after winning the Champions League
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The Reds were still waiting for an official invite to the tournament earlier this week despite the fact FIFA announced Qatar as hosts in early June.

But now it’s been confirmed Liverpool will be taking part in the competition, which takes place just before Christmas.

They enter the tournament at the semi-final stage, which is scheduled to happen on Wednesday December 18, while both the final and third-place play-off is pencilled in for Saturday December 21.

Liverpool's busy Christmas schedule

Fixtures Premier League unless stated

Liverpool vs Watford – Saturday December 14

Liverpool vs possible Carabao Cup quarter-final opponent – Tuesday December 17/Wednesday 18 (To be rearranged)

Liverpool vs Club World Cup semi-final opponent – Wednesday December 18

West Ham vs Liverpool – Saturday December 21 – (To be rearranged)

FIFA Club World Cup final/third place play-off – Saturday December 21

Leicester City vs Liverpool – Thursday December 26

This means at least one of Liverpool’s fixtures would need to be rearranged as they have a trip to West Ham in the Premier League currently scheduled for December 21.

Meanwhile, if the Reds reach the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, a new date would need to be found for that tie as the matches for that stage of the competition will take place on December 17/18.

There are eight teams competing in the Club World Cup, with Liverpool already confirmed alongside Vincent Janssen’s new club, Monterrey (Mexico), Hienghene Sport (New Caledonia) and Al-Sadd, who are managed by Barcelona legend Xavi, from Qatar.

Liverpool last took part in the tournament in December 2005 but lost 1-0 in the final to Sao Paolo in Japan.

Club World Cup 2019: Champions League winners Liverpool will headline tournament in Qatar

3 Jun

The Club World Cup will be held in Qatar in December.

Liverpool have the honour of playing in the tournament after beating Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid on Saturday.

FIFA met in Paris on Monday where they also revealed the competition will be staged in Qatar for the next two years.

Jordan Henderson lifted the Champions League trophy after Liverpool beat Tottenham
AFP/Getty

Staging the seven-team tournament will be a chance for the country to test their new stadiums ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

FIFA will scrap the current Club World Cup format and relaunch it as a 24-team tournament in 2021 to be held every fourth summer in the slot currently held by the Confederations Cup.

There has been a delay in naming the host of the tournament as FIFA want to make sure Qatar have two finished stadiums.

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“Following the approval of a revamped FIFA Club World Cup with 24 teams, the pilot edition of which will be played in 2021, the FIFA Council decided to award Qatar the right to host the next two editions of the tournament in its existing format in 2019 and 2020.

The upcoming editions of the seven-team competition will serve as valuable test events in the build-up to the FIFA World Cup 2022, even more so since their timing – usually around early December – corresponds with that of the next FIFA World Cup, allowing for testing under similar climatic conditions,” a statement read.

The already renovated Khalifa International Stadium in Doha is being used for the World Athletics Championships in September and will not be ready for football in December.

Liverpool will be competing for the Club World Cup against the champions of world football’s other five confederations and the national champions of the host country.

The qualifiers so far are Mexico’s Monterey, Tunisia’s Esperance and Hienghene Sport and Oceania champions New Caledonia.

The Asian and South American champions will be decided in November.

Current Qatari champions are Al Sadd, who are managed by former Barcelona and Spain star Xavi.

Club World Cup 2019: Champions League winners Liverpool to discover location of tournament and could feature in new 24-team version

1 Jun

Liverpool may have won the Champions League, but there was confusion about whether they will take part in the FIFA Club World Cup this year.

The Reds beat Premier League rivals Tottenham 2-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid to get their hands on a sixth European Cup.

Liverpool lift the Champions League trophy after beating Tottenham in Madrid

Traditionally, the winner of the Champions League is automatically entered into the Club World Cup which takes place every December.

However, with the 2019 Club World Cup host nation not being decided until 3 June – two days after the Madrid final – there was uncertainty about the next edition.

This is due to FIFA’s new plans, which were rubber-stamped in March to host an expanded version of the competition every four years.

From 2021, the new format will see 24 teams compete – rather than eight in the previous model – which Liverpool are believed to have been invited to take part in.

However they, along with the fellow members of the European Club Association (ECA), have opposed the proposals laid out by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, and are thought to have declined to enter the competition.

The BBC reported that a letter penned to FIFA by the ECA read: “We are firmly against any potential approval of a revised CWC – no ECA clubs would take part.”

The Confederations Cup has been scrapped to may room for the revamped Club World Cup in June and July. Teams will be split into eight groups of three teams each, with the group winners to qualify for the quarter-finals in a knockout format.

“Now the world will see a real Club World Cup where fans will see the best teams in the world compete to be crowned the real world champions,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said when his proposals were green lit.

The Times report there would be 12 clubs from Europe and FIFA’s preferred option for the first tournament is to invite those clubs who have won at least three Champions Leagues or European Cups.

Club World Cup: Top European clubs refuse to take part in revamped tournament before 2024 despite Gianni Infantino’s plans

15 Mar

Europe’s top clubs have told Gianni Infantino they will not take part in a revamped Club World Cup in 2021, scuppering the FIFA president’s plans until at least 2024.

The stark message comes in a letter to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin from the European Club Association, which represents 232 of the continent’s leading teams, and was sent via email on Tuesday, three days before a crucial meeting of FIFA’s ruling council in Miami on Friday.

The letter is a blow to Infantino

The letter is believed to remind Ceferin that the ECA “is unwilling to consider any new or significantly revised competition prior to a holistic assessment” of the international match calendar, which has been agreed until 2024.

Ceferin, however, did not really need reminding of this as he and the ECA are in agreement in their anger at how Infantino has gone about this attempt to rewrite the calendar

But the letter will enable the Slovenian, who is also a FIFA vice-president, to tell FIFA there can be no new money-spinner without the game’s biggest stars.

Infantino has been trying to get approval for his new Club World Cup for a year and it had seemed he was inching closer to victory this week, as German federation boss and FIFA Council member Reinhard Grindel said he backed the idea – a possible sign that Europe’s opposition was splintering.

Ceferin is believed to agree with the ECA’s letter

The current seven-team competition is held every winter but is largely ignored in Europe, football’s largest market, and FIFA is desperate to breathe new life into it and earn more money to distribute throughout the game.

The FIFA plan has evolved since Infantino first mentioned it at a FIFA Council meeting in Colombia last year but the latest idea is for 24 teams – eight from Europe, six from South America, three each from Africa, Asia and North and Central America and one from Oceania – to play in a pilot tournament that could be worth £50million to each club.

But despite that sweetener, Europe’s elite are unmoved and the language of the letter, which has been signed by Manchester United vice-chairman Ed Woodward, Celtic’s Peter Lawwell and the bosses of Ajax, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris St Germain, is implacable.

Using phrases such as “much to our disappointment” and “utter disregard”, the ECA criticises FIFA for failing to consult properly, with the ‘Taskforce’ set up to resolve Europe’s concerns not letting the clubs discuss the international match calendar or examine Infantino’s financial plans.

On the issue of the calendar, the ECA stance could not be clearer, as it points out a pilot tournament in June 2021 would “result in the following uninterrupted sequence of competitions”: national and UEFA club competitions until the end of May, an international window including the UEFA Nations League finals, an 18-day Club World Cup from June 17-July 4, the Africa Cup of Nations and CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, and then the new domestic seasons.

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“In proposing this calendar…FIFA confirms that the protection and well-being of players and the vital interests of clubs are not a priority for football’s world governing body,” it said.

This places the clubs on the same side of the argument as world players’ union FIFPro, which made its opposition to the plan public on Wednesday.

The ECA is also annoyed that Infantino’s other big proposal from 12 months ago, a global Nations League, has not been killed off, despite no real enthusiasm for it from anywhere.

Real Madrid are the reigning Club World Cup champions

And it is scathing about FIFA’s refusal to reveal more details on who its backers are for the new tournaments, although it is widely believed to be investors from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in a group led by Japan’s technology fund SoftBank.

FIFA’s failure to “provide any meaningful information” on the proposal to sell 49 per cent of the new events – in a 12-year deal worth 25billion US dollars (£18.8billion) – is “perturbing” and inconsistent with its “stated objectives to modernise” and operate in an “open and transparent manner”.

The letter concludes by saying the ECA’s members are willing to talk about how a revamped Club World Cup might fit in the calendar after 2024, which they believe was settled in an agreement reached with FIFA in 2015.

Most successful European football clubs by total trophies won, including Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool

2 Aug

Which club is Europe’s most decorated?

For the purposes of simply counting the number of trophies won, talkSPORT.com has included ‘super cup’ competitions, although debate will continue to rage as to their relative merits.

Additionally,restrictions have been placed on leagues and the ranking takes clubs from the top four league competitions in Europe: England, Spain, Germany and Italy. These countries are historically the most dominant in European competition and, therefore, we have adjudged their domestic competitions to be the toughest to win.

If it was left open to clubs from any European league, the result would see Scotland’s Rangers come out on top, with Northern Ireland’s Linfield in second and Scotland’s Celtic in third. But we are more interested in finding out who’s the best of the best.

Competitions included: All UEFA competitions bar the Intertoto Cup (but including the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup), the Intercontinental Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, domestic top division titles, main domestic cups and League Cups (now defunct in Germany and Spain and never competed for in Italy, but held since the 1960s in England), and domestic ‘Super Cups’ (known in England as the Community Shield).

All statistics correct as of August 9, 2017.

11. Chelsea have won 28 trophies
11. Chelsea have won 28 trophies – The Blues have won six top flight English titles, eight FA Cups, five League Cups and they were the first English club to win every UEFA trophy. In 2012 they became the only London club to win the Champions League, adding the Europa League a year later to complete the continental set, along with two victories in the now defunct Cup Winners' Cup and one in the UEFA Super Cup. They have also won four Community Shields. The Blues had racked up 11 trophies prior to Roman Abramovich's arrival, but have since won 16 in 14 years.
10. Atletico Madrid have won 29 trophies
10. Atletico Madrid have won 29 trophies – Atletico have been very successful in recent years, winning seven trophies since 2010. Their 2014 triumph in La Liga took Atleti's Spanish title count to 10, the same number of times they have won the Spanish Cup, with two Spanish Super Cups for good measure. In 1962 they won their first European honour, the Cup Winners' Cup, followed by Europa League and UEFA Super Cup doubles in 2010 and 2012 respectively. They won it again in 2018, but the European Cup/Champions League has eluded them, despite being seconds away from winning two finals, as well as contesting a shoot-out in the 2016 final, but they did win the 1974 Intercontinental Cup – the predecessor to FIFA's Club World Cup – when European Cup holders Bayern Munich declined to take part. Atletico beat South American champions Independiente over two legs to be crowned world champions.
9. Internazionale have won 39 trophies
9. Internazionale have won 39 trophies – The only Italian club to win the treble, Inter won five trophies alone in 2010, including the Champions League, Serie A, Italian Cup, Italian Super Cup and Club World Cup. Overall, they have won three European Cups/Champions League, 18 Serie A titles, seven Italian Cups, five Italian Super Cups, three UEFA Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and one Club World Cup.
8. Arsenal have won 45 trophies
8. Arsenal have won 45 trophies – Arsenal hold the record for the number of FA Cups won, with their success in 2017 taking their tally to 13 in the oldest football competition in the world. They can boast 13 English top flight titles, and share the record for most domestic doubles with Manchester United, having clinched both league and cup success in the same season on three occasions. They have won the League Cup twice, including as part of a double with the FA Cup in 1993, plus 15 Charity/Community Shields. In Europe, Arsenal's first trophy came with the Fairs Cup (a forerunner of the UEFA Cup/Europa League) in 1970, and they claimed the Cup Winners' Cup in 1994.
7. AC Milan have won 48 trophies
7. AC Milan have won 48 trophies – Milan are second only to Real Madrid when it comes to European Cup/Champions League victories, having been crowned champions of Europe on seven occasions. Their first success in the competition came in 1963, while their most recent Champions League final victory was in 2007. Until Real's success in 2017, Milan had been the last club to successfully defend the European Cup, winning back-to-back trophies in 1989 and 1990. Additionally, they have won two Cup Winners' Cups, five UEFA Super Cups, three Intercontinental Cups and one Club World Cup. On the domestic front, Milan boast 18 Serie A titles, five Italian Cups and seven Italian Super Cups – with their most recent Supercoppa coming in 2016/17.
6. Liverpool have won 59 trophies
6. Liverpool have won 59 trophies – The most successful English club in European football, Liverpool have won five European Cups, putting them level with Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the all-time list. The Reds have also claimed three UEFA Cups and three UEFA Super Cups. On the home front, Liverpool have won 18 top flight English titles, seven FA Cups, a record eight League Cups and 15 Charity/Community Shields. The only trophies of note to elude them come on a global stage, having lost two Intercontinental Cup finals in the 1980s and the Club World Cup in 2005. They also lost the 1966 Cup Winners' Cup final to Borussia Dortmund, so cannot complete the full set of UEFA competitions.
5. Juventus have won 64 trophies
5. Juventus have won 64 trophies – Ahead of both Inter and AC Milan, Juventus are the most successful Italian club in total number of trophies. Juve have won 34 Serie A titles, by far the most in Italy despite being stripped of two championships for match-fixing. They have also claimed 123 Italian Cups and seven Italian Super Cups. In Europe, the Old Lady has the complete set of honours: winning two European Cups, three UEFA Cups, one Cup Winners' Cup and two UEFA Super Cups. Juve have also been crowned world champions twice, winning the Intercontinental Cup in 1985 and 1996.
4. Manchester United have won 66 trophies
4. Manchester United have won 66 trophies – The Red Devils are the most successful club in England, with 20 top flight titles, including 13 in the Premier League era. United have won 12 FA Cups, five League Cups and a record 21 Charity/Community Shields. They have a full set of European honours, having won the Europa League in 2017 to add to their three European Cups/Champions Leagues, Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup. United are the only English club to win a treble of Champions League, domestic title and main domestic cup, and are the only English club to win any global titles. In 1999 they won the Intercontinental Cup and in 2008 claimed the Club World Cup.
3. Bayern Munich have won 69 trophies
3. Bayern Munich have won 69 trophies – The kings of German football, Bayern have won the Bundesliga title a record 28 times and the German Cup on a record 18 occasions. They also won the now defunct German League Cup six times and the German Super Cup six times. Outside Germany, Bayern boast five European Cups/Champions Leagues, including three-in-a-row in the mid-1970s. They have won every European trophy, with one Cup Winners' Cup, UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup triumph to their name. Bayern have also won the Intercontinental Cup twice and one Club World Cup, and are the only German club to complete the treble.
2. Real Madrid have won 86 trophies
2. Real Madrid have won 86 trophies – The most successful club in the history of the European Cup/Champions League, Real Madrid have won the tournament on 13 occasions, including the first five editions and seven more in the Champions League era. The Spanish giants won back-to-back UEFA Cups in the 1980s and also boast four UEFA Super Cups on their honours list. Madrid claimed the Intercontinental Cup three times and have won the Club World Cup twice, in 2014 and 2016. In Spain, they have a record 33 titles, plus 19 Spanish Cups, nine Spanish Super Cups and one victory in the defunct Spanish League Cup.
1. Barcelona have won 89 trophies
1. Barcelona have won 89 trophies – The most successful club based on number of trophies won, Barcelona are the only club to win the treble twice. They boast five European Cup/Champions League victories, to go alongside four wins in the Cup Winners' Cup, three in the old Fairs Cup and five UEFA Super Cup triumphs. In Spain, Barca have been crowned champions 25 times, won the Spanish Cup a record 30 times, the Spanish Super Cup on 12 occasions and the Spanish League Cup twice. They have also claimed the Club World Cup three times, and in 2009 became the first club to win six trophies in a calendar year.