CompetitionsPremier League

Arsenal clash with Liverpool in Carabao Cup semi-final called off

Arsenal’s League Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool has been postponed after a significant Covid outbreak at the Merseyside club.

Jurgen Klopp’s side yesterday appealed to the EFL for the match to be called off following a surge in cases.

The German is currently self-isolating and missed Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea.

Klopp’s No2 Pep Lijnders was on the touchline at Stamford Bridge.

But he will now also be missing after testing positive himself.

And as many as FOURTEEN new cases are understood to have emerged within the club.

Liverpool confirmed earlier today that the club’s training ground at Kirkby had been closed for the next 48 hours as a result of the outbreak which saw more players and assistant boss Lijnders joining Klopp, Alisson, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino on the ‘positive’ list.

That confirmed the expected EFL decision to call off the game after Liverpool asked for a postponement yesterday.

But while the two legs have now both been pushed back a week, Arsenal fans who had already bought travel and hotel accommodation for next Thursday’s planned game will not be out of pocket.

Both clubs have agreed to a reversal of the fixtures as they were drawn.

It means the first leg will be played at Anfield next Thursday – the scheduled date and venue for the second match – while the return will go ahead at the Emirates on January 20.

An EFL spokesperson confirmed: “The first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Liverpool scheduled for Thursday 6 January 2022 has been postponed following a formal request by Liverpool due to a severe outbreak of COVID infections amongst their management and playing staff.

“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.

“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”.

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