Carabao Cup: Arsenal vs Liverpool postponed due to Covid-19
Liverpool’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Arsenal on Thursday has been postponed after the EFL accepted a request from the Merseyside club following further cases of Covid in their squad.
An initial request was submitted on Tuesday afternoon 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.
An EFL statement on Wednesday confirmed Arsenal will now play Liverpool in a fortnight and will now be treated as the second leg semi-final.
“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,” a statement read.
“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.
“As a result of the postponement the order of the ties has now changed with the first of the two legs to take place at Anfield on 13 January 2022 at 7.45pm. The rearranged game (now the 2nd leg) is scheduled to be played at the Emirates on 20 January 2022 at 7.45pm.”
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.
Earlier on Wednesday, assistant manager Pep Lijnders – due to lead the team in Klopp’s absence – also began self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19. Liverpool shut their training ground later in the morning.
Confirmation of the postponement will also raise a question over Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie at home to Shrewsbury.
The return leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final at Anfield is scheduled for January 13.