Liverpool’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Arsenal on Thursday has been postponed after the EFL accepted a request from the Merseyside club following further cases of Covid in their squad.
Liverpool announced earlier on Wednesday their training ground would be closed for at least 48 hours and that Jurgen Klopp’s assistant, Pep Lijnders, had tested positive. Lijnders was due to take the team as Klopp himself is also isolating.
A request for postponement was submitted on Tuesday after the latest round of testing found more cases within the first-team bubble. Klopp and three players – Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip – were forced to miss Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea after testing positive.
An EFL statement on Wednesday confirmed the rearranged fixture will now be played in a fortnight on Thursday January 20 and will be treated as the second leg semi-final. Both games are live on Sky Sports Football.
As a result of the rescheduled Carabao Cup semi final dates, Arsenal’s Premier League match at home to Burnley will now take place on Sunday January 23 at 2pm.
- First leg new date: Thursday January 13 – Liverpool vs Arsenal – kick-off 7.45pm
- Second leg new date: Thursday January 20 – Arsenal vs Liverpool – kick-off 7.45pm
“The EFL has been in regular dialogue with the club over the past 48 hours in an attempt to understand whether the tie could proceed but significant developments over this period have resulted in the club reporting an ever-increasing number of COVID cases,” a statement read.
“Having now fully reviewed the circumstances involved, the League has accepted Liverpool’s request after determining, albeit reluctantly, that a postponement was the only option as the club looks to mitigate against the further risk of infection amongst its squad and staff alongside ensuring public health was protected by not travelling from Liverpool to London.
“As a result of the postponement the order of the ties has now changed with the first of the two legs to take place at Anfield on 13 January 2022 at 7.45pm. The rearranged game (now the 2nd leg) is scheduled to be played at the Emirates on 20 January 2022 at 7.45pm.”
Liverpool released a statement, which said: “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.
“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.”
Liverpool were without a total of nine players for the match at Chelsea through illness and injury, and have subsequently lost Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane to Africa Cup of Nations duty.
Confirmation of the postponement will also raise a question over Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie at home to Shrewsbury.
Why wasn’t match forfeited like Orient in 2020?
Back in September 2020, Leyton Orient were forced to forfeit their Carabao Cup third-round tie against Tottenham due to 18 of their first-team players and staff testing positive for Covid-19.
An order from the local health authority also meant Orient were unable to play the third-round fixture before the fourth round was scheduled a week later.
Rule 5.1 of the Carabao Cup competition states a club has to forfeit a match should they not be able to complete it before the next round is scheduled.
However, Liverpool avoided forfeiting due to the final being scheduled for February 27. Effectively, Arsenal and Liverpool had until that date to schedule in both legs.
Liverpool’s next fixtures
January 9: Shrewsbury (H) – FA Cup third round
January 13: Arsenal (H) – Carabao Cup
January 16: Brentford (H) – Premier League
January 20: Arsenal (A) – Carabao Cup
January 23: Crystal Palace (A) – Premier League, live on Sky Sports
Which Premier League games have been called off?
Brighton vs Tottenham – Sunday, December 12
Brentford vs Man Utd – Tuesday, December 14
Burnley vs Watford – Wednesday, December 15
Leicester vs Tottenham – Thursday, December 16
Man Utd vs Brighton – Saturday, December 18
Southampton vs Brentford – Saturday, December 18
Watford vs Crystal Palace – Saturday, December 18
West Ham vs Norwich – Saturday, December 18
Aston Villa vs Burnley – Saturday, December 18
Everton vs Leicester – Sunday, December 19
Liverpool vs Leeds – Sunday, December 26
Wolves vs Watford – Sunday, December 26
Burnley vs Everton – Sunday, December 26
Leeds vs Aston Villa – Tuesday, December 28
Arsenal vs Wolves – Tuesday, December 28
Everton vs Newcastle – Thursday, December 30
Southampton vs Newcastle – Sunday, January 2
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