Liverpool have avoided disqualification from the Carabao Cup ahead of their tie with Arsenal and have, instead, been handed a £200k fine for fielding an ineligible player.
Liverpool beat MK Dons in the third-round however they played Pedro Chirivella without international clearance, leaving them facing the possibility of being booted from the competition and Arsenal being given a bye into the next round.
That, of course, was never going to happen.
Could you imagine the uproar if the media’s darlings were punished in that way? Besides, there was precedent to follow and a fine was always the most likely outcome.
£100,000 of their £200,000 fine has been suspended.
An EFL spokesman said: “The rules of the Carabao Cup require clubs to ensure all players are registered and eligible in line with their respective league’s rules before they play. The player was always contracted to Liverpool FC during this period, and the reason he was not eligible was because the club did not have the relevant international clearance following expiry of an earlier loan agreement.
“The club’s breach was in part due to the challenges it encountered with securing the correct international clearance, and its subsequent ability to include the player on team sheets despite the lack of clearance.
“As a result, the board concluded the most appropriate sanction was a financial penalty.”
In a statement, Liverpool said: “The club accepts the judgment outcome and punishment imposed by the EFL. We believe it is proportionate with the technical indiscretion committed and will be making no further representations.
“Even though there were mitigating factors, which were beyond our control or jurisdiction, we believe it appropriate we apologise to the competition’s governing body and also to Milton Keynes Dons.”
Chirivella was a 63rd minute substitute as Liverpool beat MK Dons 2-0 at the Stadium MK on 25 September.
Arsenal will travel to Anfield for their Carabao Cup tie on Wednesday, 30 October with a 7.30pm kick-off. The game will be shown live on Sky Sports.