Liverpool’s plans for the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal are in further disarray after they were forced to shutdown their Kirkby training centre.
The move came just hours after it emerged Pep Lijnders, the club’s assistant manager, had tested positive for Covid-19 and the scheduled press conference he was due to lead had been cancelled.
Lijnders would have had to be in charge of the Emirates Stadium game given Jurgen Klopp’s isolation. However, he discovered the results late Tuesday night.
Pep Lijnders (assistant manager at Liverpool) tested positive for Covid in the wake of their worsening epidemic
Liverpool has had to close down its Kirkby training facility due to Covid spreading rapidly
Lijnders isn’t the only one who has tested positive. There have also been cases within the staff.
Following consultations with Public Health Authorities regarding the rise in cases, it was decided to close AXA Training Base within the next 48 hours.
A statement from the club stated that AXA Training Centre had been closed temporarily due to an increasing number of positive COVID-19 reports.
After multiple suspected positives were discovered in the most recent round of tests, the Reds decided to stop operations at the facility.
“The relevant Public Health authorities were consulted before the decision was taken. This is in addition to Monday’s and Tuesday’s cases.
This will now, inevitably, place a doubt on the prospect of Liverpool’s FA Cup third round tie against Shrewsbury going ahead at Anfield on Sunday.
Although the EFL is yet to confirm whether the Carabao Cup clash against Arsenal will take place, it seems likely that this could be in grave jeopardy.
The manager and assistant are now being isolated, raising further doubts about the possibility of the game being staged. There are not any indications that Klopp or Lijnders might need to be replaced if the game goes ahead.
After he was also positive for HIV last week, Jurgen Klopp has appointed Lijnders to be the manager.
Liverpool is in chaos regarding their plans to play Arsenal at the Carabao Cup semifinal.
Peter Kraweitz, the assistant manager, Vitor Matos, the elite development coach, and head of fitness Andreas Kornmayer are part of Klopp’s inner circle; Barry Lewtas is the club’s Under-23 head coach, but it is too early to say whether any of those will be expected to step forward.
Liverpool made Tuesday’s official request to postpone the match. They had to cancel an scheduled training session after a Covid outbreak in their team. But they weren’t forced to close down Kirkby.
As things stand, Liverpool are without the isolating Joel Matip, Roberto Firmino and Alisson Becker, who tested positive ahead of last weekend’s trip to Chelsea; Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, Harvey Elliott and Thiago Alcantara are injured, while Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Naby Keita are at the Africa Cup of Nations.
However, there are other health concerns in the squad and more Covid-19 positive cases. Liverpool approached the EFL Tuesday night to postpone the game. A statement was issued by them asking for an immediate decision. This is especially important for London-bound fans.
The club said: ‘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.’
A fixture is required if there are 14 available players, which includes two goalkeepers.
Liverpool’s decision to apply for a postponement is a last resort, as there are very few gaps in the calendar and not many places to make a switch.