Liverpool’s request to postpone Arsenal Carabao Cup semi-final first leg granted by EFL

Liverpool’s request to postpone the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal has been granted by the EFL after a Covid-19 outbreak among players and staff left them unable to fulfil Thursday’s fixture.

The first leg of the semi-final will take place at Anfield on Thursday 13 January, with the return leg now scheduled to be held at the Emirates a week later on 20 January.

Liverpool had requested for the match to be postponed on Tuesday evening, with assistant manager Pep Lijnders the latest to record a suspected positive Covid-19 test on Wednesday. The club have also shut down their training ground for at least the next 48 hours.

A statement from the EFL said they had “reluctantly” accepted Liverpool’s request after determining that a postponement was the only option to mitigate against the further spread of Covid-19 in their squad.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is isolating after he tested positive before his side’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday, while Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip were also ruled out of the fixture due to positive tests. Three other members of staff also tested positive, and there were more cases recorded amongst the first-team squad on Tuesday.

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Other injuries and illnesses in the squad, combined with the absence of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita following their departure to the Africa Cup of Nations, left Liverpool struggling to pull a team together ahead for Thursday’s match.

“Liverpool would like to place on record its thanks to the EFL and Arsenal for their understanding, as well as supporters of both clubs, as we continue to navigate through this challenging period,” the club said in a statement.

Liverpool’s next match is against Shrewsbury in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

Arsenal added: “We are disappointed to confirm that our Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool on Thursday 6 January has been postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Liverpool squad and staff.”

The other semi-final between Chelsea and Spurs remains on, with the first leg taking place at Stamford Bridge this evening and the return leg at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in a week’s time.

The outcome of that semi-final will be determined before the first leg of Liverpool and Arsenal’s tie kicks off next week, with the winners of the semis meeting in the final at Wembley on 27 February.

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