Thursday, January 27, 2022

Arsenal vs. Liverpool EFL Cup semifinal: Reds ask for postponement, cancel training due to COVID-19 cases

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Liverpool have requested the postponement of the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium due to a combination of COVID-19 cases and injuries.

The club have submitted the request, following further positive coronavirus tests within their first team squad and cancelled a training session in a bid to lessen the spread of the virus around the first team. Jurgen Klopp, Alisson, Roberto Firmino, Joel Matip and three members of staff were isolating after testing positive before Sunday’s Premier League match against Chelsea.

Liverpool also have five senior players injured whilst three others have travelled to the Africa Cup of Nations. The EFL, which primarily organises the lower leagues of English football, has previously informed its clubs that games should take place where squads of 14 players including two goalkeepers are available.

“Among the considerations which led to today’s application to the EFL is the need for travelling supporters to be given as much notice as possible of any potential postponement,” Liverpool said in a statement. “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.”

The EFL responded in a statement, “The EFL has this evening received a request from Liverpool to postpone Thursday’s EFL Cup Semi-Final first leg versus Arsenal which will now be considered in accordance with the competition rules as set out at the start of the season alongside information submitted by the Club. We will look to confirm the League’s position as soon as possible once the circumstances have been fully reviewed.”

The second leg of the tie is due to take place the following week at Anfield, though a possible compromise date around the following week could be found with neither side due to play between January 16 and 22. Liverpool manager Klopp had previously indicated a preference for playing the match as a one off game at the Emirates Stadium. 

In total 18 Premier League games have been postponed in the past month as the United Kingdom battles the omicron variant of COVID-19, including one each for Arsenal and Liverpool. An empty fixture slot must also be found for the Premier League meeting between this two at the Emirates, postponed from its scheduled date of February 26 as that is the same weekend as the EFL Cup final.

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