Covid forces postponement of Liverpool-Arsenal League Cup semi


London (AFP) – Liverpool’s League Cup semi-final first-leg match against Arsenal on Thursday has been postponed due to a “severe outbreak” of coronavirus cases at the Anfield club.

Liverpool asked on Tuesday for the match to be rearranged and since then there have been more positive tests, forcing the closure of their training ground.

Manager Jurgen Klopp and three players — Alisson Becker, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino — were already isolating before the latest wave of infections, which includes a positive test for assistant boss Pep Lijnders.

The English Football League said it had accepted Liverpool’s request for a postponement.

“The first leg of the Carabao (League) Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Liverpool scheduled for Thursday 6 January 2022 has been postponed following a formal request by Liverpool due to a severe outbreak of Covid infections amongst their management and playing staff,” the EFL said in a statement.

Liverpool said the rise in cases had left them short of numbers.

“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,” they said in a statement.

“The outbreak has left Liverpool without a sufficient number of players and staff to fulfil the contest as originally scheduled.”

The club are also missing a number of players through injury including Thiago Alcantara, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi, while Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita are on Africa Cup of Nations duty.

Liverpool will now host the first leg of the League Cup tie at Anfield on January 13, with the return leg taking place at the Emirates Stadium the following week.

Chelsea are hosting Tottenham in the other League Cup semi-final later on Wednesday.

Liverpool’s next match is due to be the FA Cup third-round tie at home to Shrewsbury on Sunday, which could also now be in doubt.

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