Liverpool’s under 23 boss Neil Critchley is looking forward to taking the reigns when the Reds face Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup on December 17.

Critchley will be in charge at Villa Park as Jugen Klopp and the senior players at the club will be preparing for their FIFA Club World Cup semi-final clash on December 18 in Qatar.

Liverpool will be playing two games in 24 hours across two continents, which makes it impossible for Klopp to be in charge for both games.

Liverpool will field a very young XI against Villa in the Carabao Cup quarter-final, with the likes of Harvey Elliott, Rhian Brewster, Curtis Jones and Neco Williams set to feature before flying out to Qatar.

Critchley sees the game as an opportunity, as his team have nothing to lose.

“It’s just a great opportunity,” Critchley told the club’s website.

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MARCH 03: Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard holds aloft the Carling Cup ahead of the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on March 3, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

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“Unusual circumstances, quite unique circumstances really and I’m not sure it’s happened too many times or maybe it’s not happened in the past. The club have obviously tried to find what they think is the best solution.

“This is the circumstance, or what’s arisen, and [for] me and the staff and our players it will be one that we relish and look forward to hopefully with great optimism on the night.

“I think we’ve got nothing to lose, we’ve got nothing to fear and we just have to see it as an opportunity,” he added.

“Aston Villa away in the quarter-final, you’d expect it to be a really good crowd, they won’t be resting any of their players because they have the chance to reach the semi-final and they’ll be going flat out.

“I just see it as nothing but a fabulous opportunity for these young players to go and prove where they want to be in the future and hopefully come the end of the game the supporters and people watching the game will have a real positive opinion of our young players.”

Liverpool have handled what is a very tricky situation well. The tournament taking place in Qatar is clearly more important, which is why Klopp and his staff have prioritised it.

The clash against Villa remains a very good opportunity for many of the younger players to impress. With that being the case, it could be a very interesting contest.

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Freelance sports journalist and Red from Melbourne.

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