The first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Liverpool has been postponed due to a severe outbreak of COVID-19 infections at the Anfield club, the English Football League (EFL) said on Wednesday.
Liverpool had requested the EFL on Tuesday to reschedule the game because of the rise in COVID-19 cases at the club. The Reds temporarily closed their first-team training centre on Wednesday after assistant manager Pep Lijnders became the latest to have to be isolated.
“The first leg of the Carabao (League) Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Liverpool scheduled for Thursday 6 January 2022 has been postponed following a formal request by Liverpool due to a severe outbreak of COVID infections amongst their management and playing staff,” the EFL said in a statement.
“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,” it added.
Lijnders took charge for Sunday’s Premier League draw at Chelsea, with manager Jurgen Klopp already isolated. Players Alisson Becker, Joel Matip, and Roberto Firmino missed that game too and three other staff members tested positive.
Following the postponement, Liverpool said in a statement that it “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”.
Liverpool are due to host Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup third round on Sunday, while Chelsea host Tottenham in the other Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday.
Britain reported 218,724 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a new record for the number of cases reported on a single day in the country.