Liverpool ask to postpone Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal

Liverpool’s Kirkby training ground was closed on Tuesday

Liverpool have requested the EFL postpones their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal on Thursday as the club struggles to contain an outbreak of Covid-19 among players and staff.

The manager Jurgen Klopp missed Sunday’s Premier League match at Chelsea after testing positive for the virus last week along with goalkeeper Alisson Becker, defender Joel Matip, forward Roberto Firmino and three other members of staff. More positive cases have developed this week causing the club’s Kirkby training ground to be closed on Tuesday.

Injuries have added to Liverpool’s problems while Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita have all now departed for the Africa Cup of Nations, and it means the club are struggling to get a full playing squad together for the match at the Emirates Stadium.

In a statement, Liverpool said: “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. 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 must now consider whether to accept Liverpool’s request. The two-legged tie, which was scheduled to be completed at Anfield next Thursday 13 January, could be reduced to a single match but that would be a last resort.

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Each of the two legs could be shifted back a week as there is a free midweek currently in the calendar following the Football Association’s decision to scrap third-round replays of the FA Cup. The Premier League already has designs on fitting some of its many postponed matches into that gap, but Liverpool and Arsenal may now play in the Carabao Cup instead.

The EFL said: “The League has this evening received a request from Liverpool FC to postpone Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg versus Arsenal FC 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.”

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