Casual fans of football might have been surprised to see a score line from the Quarter Final of the Carabao (league) Cup that read Aston Villa 5 - 0 Liverpool. The recently promoted team beat the European Champions comfortably to book their place in the last 4.
What the score line doesn't tell you is that the average age of the Liverpool team was a little over 19. Probably more discrete, but equally telling, is that the sum of the squad numbers for Liverpool was just short of 1,300! That's an average of 72. The lowest number on the back of any Liverpool jersey at Villa Park was the "51" visible on the back of Ki-Jana Hoever.
While the youngsters were battling against Villa the Liverpool first team was busy preparing in Qatar for the FIFA World Club Championship Semi-Final. Unfortunately for the Merseyside club, fixture congestion meant that the only way the club could compete in both competitions was to hold games within 24 hours of one another.
There are many reasons why the club decided to priorities a trip to Qatar over Birmingham but probably the most obvious is the chasm in prizemoney available in both. The figures below provide sources of prizemoney for the 2019/20 season. Data for the Premier League is taken from 2018/1 as the variability in winnings are based on the number of appearances on television, as well as finishing position.
While the FIFA World Club Championship is worth about half of the FA Cup (£3.75 million) it involves just two games. In fact, just showing up is worth in Qatar is worth £1.5 million to the Red.
Compare this to winning the Carabao Cup. The figure to the right, takes a closer look at the FIFA World Club Championship and Carabao Cup, as the latter is too small to see on the left-hand graphic. At just £100,000 for the winners it is easy to see why Liverpool chose to head to the sun this week.