Liverpool's request to postpone the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal has been granted but Jurgen Klopp's team will lose the advantage of concluding the tie in front of their own fans at Anfield.
The first leg should have been in London, on Thursday January 6, with the second leg on Merseyside a week later but Liverpool have been struck down by a Covid outbreak, with boss Klopp, his assistant Pep Lijnders and several players in isolation after positive tests.
After extensive talks, the EFL agreed to postpone the tie with the first leg will now set for Anfield on Thursday 13 January with the second leg a week later at the Emirates Stadium, on Thursday 20 January.
The Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg between Arsenal and Liverpool scheduled for Thursday evening has been postponed following a Covid outbreak in the Liverpool camp
Liverpool have had to shut down their Kirkby training centre with Covid rapidly spreading
Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders tested positive for Covid as their outbreak worsens
Liverpool closed their Kirkby training centre after the latest round of positive results, which included Lijnders who discovered he had tested positive, late on Tuesday night.
There have been further cases amongst the playing staff at Liverpool.
After consultation with Public Health Authorities over the increase in cases, the decision has been made to close the Axa Training Base for at least the next 48 hours.
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.
Liverpool face a shortage of players with injuries, Covid cases and players at the AFCON
Sadio Mane (left) and Mohamed Salah (right) are two of those on international duty
The new dates
Liverpool vs Arsenal (Anfield)
Thursday January 13 at 7.45pm
Arsenal vs Liverpool (Emirates)
Thursday January 20 at 7.45pm
As things stand, they 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.
There are, however, other fitness concerns within the squad plus more suspected positive Covid-19 cases and, for that reason, Liverpool made their approach to the EFL on Tuesday night to have the game postponed.
They issued a statement asking for an early decision, particularly for the sake of fans who intend to travel to London.
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.'
Arsenal have also been hit by positive Covid tests, with boss Mikel Arteta due back at the club on Wednesday. Striker Eddie Nketiah, who scored a hat-trick in the quarter final against Sunderland, is isolating after a positive test.
Manager Jurgen Klopp tested positive last week and missed Sunday's visit to Chelsea
Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah is also in isolation following a positive Covid test
A statement issued by the EFL read: '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.
'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.'
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