Liverpool were told about the possibility of an FA Cup fourth-round replay during the mid-season player break before the start of the season, the Football Association has said.
Reds manager Jurgen Klopp has said that neither he nor his first-team stars will be present for their replay at home to Shrewsbury, which is set to take place during the first week of the scheduled break.
However, the FA via the Press Association says the clubs were all aware that this could happen.
A statement from the governing body read: “The FA went to great lengths to create an annual mid-season player break, working closely with the Premier League and its clubs. It is a new and significant addition to the English football calendar and is designed to benefit clubs and their players.
“To accommodate the annual mid-season player break, the FA rescheduled the Emirates FA Cup fifth round to midweek and removed fifth-round replays from the calendar. This allowed the Premier League room in its calendar to have a split round of fixtures over two weekends.
“Prior to start of the 2019-20 season, all clubs accepted that Emirates FA Cup fourth-round replays, where required, would have to take place during the first week of the mid-season player break. This will only affect a small number of clubs due to the split of Premier League fixtures in the mid-season player break.”
Klopp said after his side’s 2-2 draw at Shrewsbury on Sunday that he would “respect” the mid-season player break and that under-23s boss Neil Critchley would take charge of a youthful Reds side for the replay, which is currently scheduled for February 4 subject to a timing change for television.
If that date is confirmed, it means the Reds’ winter break amounts to 10 football-free days, the gap between February 4 and their next match on February 15.
Klopp said on Sunday: “In April 2019 we got a letter from the Premier League, I think, where they asked us to respect the winter break and not to organise international friendlies or competitive games. We respect that.
“The Premier League asked us to respect the winter break. That’s what we do. If the FA doesn’t respect that, then we cannot change it. We will not be there.”
The club have already been forced to make a similar decision in regard to the EFL Cup, when a side led by Critchley played against Aston Villa while the first team competed in the Club World Cup in Qatar.
Klopp’s approach drew some criticism, but former Liverpool player and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher backed the German.
“Senior players having a winter break is right, you can’t implement one and then have a replay in the break. That’s the same for all PL clubs,” Carragher wrote on Twitter.
“But Klopp should take the team, his young players will be delighted and the picture of him in Ibiza with a (beer) will be on every front page!”