Liverpool assistant Pep Lijnders tested positive for Covid-19, putting Thursday’s game against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup in doubt.
Lijnders has been in charge of Liverpool on an interim basis while Jurgen Klopp is isolating himself and was due to hold a press conference on Wednesday morning in the absence of the Liverpool manager.
That press conference was called off, with Liverpool confirming that Lijnders had returned a positive test.
Liverpool have officially requested a postponement of the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg on Thursday at Arsenal after other cases of Covid-19 within the squad forced training to be canceled on Tuesday.
A statement from Liverpool said on Wednesday: “Liverpool Football Club can confirm that Pepijn Lijnders returned a presumed positive test for COVID-19, which has a further impact on the club’s preparations for Thursday’s Carabao Cup game with Arsenal.
“As a result, the press conference scheduled for this morning to preview the game has been canceled.
“The deputy manager was to take over pre-match media duties at the AXA training center in place of Jürgen Klopp, who continues to self-isolate after testing positive for the virus last week.
“However, Lijnders also recorded a positive test late on Tuesday evening, which means he is now also in isolation.
“The 38-year-old had taken over interim Liverpool in the weekend draw at Chelsea in Klopp’s absence and was due to continue directing the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.
Lijnders’ test result comes on top of a number of suspected positive cases among football players and staff recorded earlier Tuesday, forcing the cancellation of the scheduled training session for the day.
“Due to the outbreak and the suspension of preparations, as well as other illnesses and injuries recorded within the squad, the club have submitted a request to the EFL for the postponement of Thursday’s game with Arsenal, with the news of Lijnders’ positive result after the filing of the claim.
“The outcome of this request is still pending.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen 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.
Liverpool were deprived of a total of nine players for the game at Chelsea due to illness and injury, and subsequently lost Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane to the Africa Cup of Nations.
The postponement request will also raise a question about Sunday’s FA Cup third round game at home against Shrewsbury.
The Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at Anfield is scheduled for January 13.
Should Liverpool forfeit?
In September 2020, Leyton Orient was forced to forgo their Carabao Cup third round match against Tottenham due to 18 of their players and first-team staff testing positive for Covid-19.
An order from the local health authority also meant that Orient was unable to play the third round match before the fourth round match, which was due a week later.
Carabao Cup competition rule 5.1 states that a club must forfeit a match if they are unable to complete it before the next round.
However, Liverpool are expected to avoid forfeiting as the final is set for February 27. Indeed, Arsenal and Liverpool have until that date to play the two semi-finals.
Liverpool’s next six matches
January 6: Arsenal (A) – Carabao Cup, live on Sky Sports
January 9: Shrewsbury (H) – FA Cup Third Round
January 13: Arsenal (M) – Carabao Cup
January 16: Brentford (H) – Premier League
January 23: Crystal Palace (A) – Premier League, live on Sky Sports
Which Premier League matches have been called off?
Brighton v Tottenham – Sunday 12 December
Brentford v Man Utd – Tuesday December 14
Burnley vs. Watford – Wednesday December 15
Leicester v Tottenham – Thursday December 16
Manchester United v Brighton – Saturday December 18
Southampton v Brentford – Saturday December 18
Watford v Crystal Palace – Saturday December 18
West Ham vs. Norwich – Saturday December 18
Aston Villa vs. Burnley – Saturday December 18
Everton v Leicester – Sunday December 19
Liverpool v Leeds – Sunday 26 December
Wolves vs. Watford – Sunday 26 December
Burnley vs. Everton – Sunday 26 December
Leeds v Aston Villa – Tuesday December 28
Arsenal vs. Wolves – Tuesday December 28
Everton v Newcastle – Thursday December 30
Southampton v Newcastle – Sunday January 2
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