A Covid-19 outbreak at Liverpool has forced their League Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal to be postponed after the EFL granted the Reds’ request for a postponement
The Reds had requested the first leg be called off after a Covid-19 outbreak forced their squad to be sent home from training on Tuesday, before the club shut their AXA Training Centre down on Wednesday.
The Anfield side were left in danger of not having a full roster to take to the Emirates just over 48 hours later, with both manager Jurgen Klopp and Pep Lijnders in isolation after contracting the virus.
In accordance with the competition’s guidelines, the English Football League granted Liverpool’s wish and the two legs will now be played on new dates of January 13th and January 20th.
Klopp missed the Reds’ thrilling 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Sunday due to returning a suspected positive test for coronavirus along with several players, as Lijnders took charge.
Meanwhile, star man Mohamed Salah, fellow forward Sadio Mane and playmaker Naby Keita are all missing due to representing their countries at the Africa Cup of Nations.
A statement on Liverpool’s website confirming the postponement read: “Liverpool’s Carabao Cup semi-final, first-leg fixture with Arsenal on Thursday has been postponed. “The club’s submission to have the fixture rescheduled has been approved by the EFL due to the increasing number of suspected positive COVID-19 cases among players and staff. “The latest round of testing on Tuesday returned a significant number of positives, including Pepijn Lijnders, who was due to take charge of the Reds at Emirates Stadium. “The outbreak has left Liverpool without a sufficient number of players and staff to fulfil the contest as originally scheduled. “As a result, the first leg of the last-four encounter will now be played at Anfield on Thursday January 13, kick-off 7.45pm GMT. The return will take place at Emirates Stadium on Thursday January 20, also getting under way at 7.45pm. “Tickets purchased for this match will remain valid for the new fixture date. The club will email all supporters who have purchased a ticket with details on refunds for those unable to attend the rescheduled date. Please don’t contact ticketing or fan services on this matter. “Liverpool Football Club would like to place on record its thanks to the EFL and Arsenal for their understanding, as well as supporters of both clubs, as we continue to navigate through this challenging period.”
Earlier in the day, the Reds confirmed their AXA Training Centre had been shut down due to more positive cases.
Their earlier statement read: “Liverpool Football Club can confirm the first-team training facilities at AXA Training Centre have been temporarily closed due to a rapidly growing number of suspected positive COVID-19 cases.
“The Reds acted to suspend operations within the facility today after the latest round of testing revealed multiple new suspected positives.
“The decision was made after consultation with the relevant Public Health authority.
“The new cases are in addition to those recorded on Monday and Tuesday morning.
“Among the multiple players and staff who tested positive in the latest round was Pepijn Lijnders, resulting in the cancellation of the pre-Arsenal press conference he had been due to host this morning.”