Liverpool fined but avoid EFL Cup expulsion after fielding ineligible player

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Liverpool have avoided being thrown out of the EFL Cup after fielding an ineligible player.

Premier League leaders Liverpool faced MK Dons in round three of the EFL Cup on September 25, winning 2-0.

It later emerged the Reds did not have international clearance to play Pedro Chirivella – a substitute for Naby Keita during the second half – following his return from a loan to Spanish club Extremadura.

Liverpool could have been expelled from the cup competition but organisers ruled a fine was the appropriate punishment.

The EFL imposed a penalty of £200,000 on the Champions League winners, of which £100,000 will be suspended until the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

In a statement, the EFL announced: "Following a comprehensive review of all the evidence, the board determined that it was not appropriate to expel the club from the competition because of a number of mitigating factors.

"In particular, the board noted that the club had sought the assistance of the Football Association in securing the return of the international clearance prior to the start of this season.

"The club had been able to include the player on team sheets for Premier League Two matches (under Premier League rules), which resulted in the breach not being identified until the club reported the issue to the EFL and Premier League following the MK Dons match."

Liverpool's reward for their victory at Stadium MK is a fourth-round tie against Arsenal, who will visit Anfield in late October.