Liverpool’s request to postpone the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal has been granted but Jurgen Klopp’s team will lose the advantage of concluding the tie in front of their own fans at Anfield.
The first leg should have been in London, on Thursday January 6, with the second leg on Merseyside a week later but Liverpool have been struck down by a Covid outbreak, with boss Klopp, his assistant Pep Lijnders and several players in isolation after positive tests.
After extensive talks, the EFL agreed to postpone the tie with the first leg will now set for Anfield on Thursday 13 January with the second leg a week later at the Emirates Stadium, on Thursday 20 January.
Liverpool closed their Kirkby training centre after the latest round of positive results, which included Lijnders who discovered he had tested positive, late on Tuesday night.
There have been further cases amongst the playing staff at Liverpool.
After consultation with Public Health Authorities over the increase in cases, the decision has been made to close the Axa Training Base for at least the next 48 hours.
This will now, inevitably, place a doubt on the prospect of Liverpool’s FA Cup third round tie against Shrewsbury going ahead at Anfield on Sunday.
As things stand, they are without the isolating Joel Matip, Roberto Firmino and Alisson Becker, who tested positive ahead of last weekend’s trip to Chelsea; Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, Harvey Elliott and Thiago Alcantara are injured, while Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Naby Keita are at the Africa Cup of Nations.
There are, however, other fitness concerns within the squad plus more suspected positive Covid-19 cases and, for that reason, Liverpool made their approach to the EFL on Tuesday night to have the game postponed.
They issued a statement asking for an early decision, particularly for the sake of fans who intend to travel to London.
The club said: “With no prospect of the current situation improving ahead of Thursday’s fixture and the potential for it to worsen, the club considers it both prudent and reasonable to ask for the fixture to be rescheduled.”
Arsenal have also been hit by positive Covid tests, with boss Mikel Arteta due back at the club on Wednesday.
Striker Eddie Nketiah, who scored a hat-trick in the quarter final against Sunderland, is isolating after a positive test.