EFL postpones Liverpool v Arsenal Carabao Cup tie due to Covid cases
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Liverpool’s successful application to postpone their EFL Cup semi-final first-leg tie against Arsenal has caused anger at Leyton Orient. The League Two side were kicked out of the competition in September 2020 after a coronavirus outbreak in their squad forced their tie with Tottenham to be postponed.
Liverpool have been struck by a COVID-19 outbreak, with assistant Pep Lijnders the latest to test positive for the virus.
Lijnders would have been in charge of the Reds because boss Jurgen Klopp is also isolating after showing mild symptoms.
Liverpool had to cancel training on Wednesday due to the crisis and formally submitted a request to have Thursday’s game against Arsenal postponed.
That request has now been accepted by the EFL, with the rearranged ‘first leg’ at the Emirates Stadium now becoming the second leg on January 20.
But that has not gone down well at Leyton Orient, who were dumped out of the competition for similar reasons at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.
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The club’s goalkeeper, and incidentally former Liverpool youngster, Lawrence Vigouroux tweeted: “Interesting when we were in the same position before a Carabao Cup tie against Spurs last season?”
Told by one Liverpool fan it saved Orient ‘getting stuffed’, Vigouroux responded:: “It probably did mate but it lost the club, tv money etc which for a club at this level is important… I see you’re from the Cotswolds mate maybe try supporting your local club and helping them out.”
The EFL said at the time of Orient’s expulsion: “In accordance with Carabao Cup Rules, Tottenham have been awarded with a bye to progress to Round Four of the Carabao Cup and will now play Chelsea.
“The Round Three tie scheduled for Tuesday 22 September between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur could not take place following the issue by Waltham Forest Borough Council of an order preventing the match being played as planned.
“This followed a number of Leyton Orient players testing positive for COVID-19.
“The EFL Board has determined that in line with Carabao Cup Rule 5.1, the Club was unable to fulfil its obligations to complete the fixture by virtue of the Council’s order and shall therefore forfeit the tie.”
Carabao Cup Rule 5.1 states that postponed matches must take place at the earliest possible opportunity and should not take place later than the first fixture to take place in the following round.
A ruling from the local authority prevented that from happening.
“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,” an EFL statement on Wednesday 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.
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“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 January 13, 2022 at 7.45pm. The rearranged game (now the 2nd leg) is scheduled to be played at the Emirates on January 20, 2022 at 7.45pm.”
A Liverpool statement added: “The club’s submission to have the fixture rescheduled has been approved by the EFL due to the increasing number of suspected positive COVID-19 cases among players and staff.
“The latest round of testing on Tuesday returned a significant number of positives, including Pepijn Lijnders, who was due to take charge of the Reds at Emirates Stadium.
“The outbreak has left Liverpool without a sufficient number of players and staff to fulfil the contest as originally scheduled.”
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