Liverpool have formally requested to have Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Arsenal postponed after further cases of Covid-19 within the squad forced the cancellation of training on Tuesday.
The request was submitted after the latest round of testing found more cases within the first-team bubble, days after 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.
We can confirm an application has been submitted for the postponement of Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final, first-leg tie with Arsenal due to an escalating number of suspected positive COVID-19 cases and player availability.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 4, 2022
A club statement said: “The Reds have formally requested to the EFL that the fixture is rescheduled after further suspected positive tests were registered among players and staff, allied to other factors impacting selection, including illness and injury.
“In response, the club halted preparations at the AXA Training Centre, meaning Tuesday’s first-team training session was cancelled.
“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.”
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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.
The request for a postponement will also raise a question over Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie at home to Shrewsbury.
The return leg of the semi-final at Anfield is scheduled for January 13.
An EFL spokesperson said: “The league has this evening received a request from Liverpool to postpone Thursday’s Carabao 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.”
Would Liverpool have to forfeit the match?
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 game, which was scheduled for 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 should avoid forfeiting due to the final being scheduled for February 27. Effectively, Arsenal and Liverpool have until that date to play both semi-final legs.
January 6: Arsenal (A) – Carabao Cup, live on Sky Sports
January 9: Shrewsbury (H) – FA Cup third round
January 13: Arsenal (H) – Carabao Cup
January 16: Brentford (H) – Premier League
January 23: Crystal Palace (A) – Premier League, live on Sky Sports
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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