League Cup semi-final first-leg between Arsenal and Liverpool postponed due to Covid-19

Match at Emirates Stadium on Thursday called off after 'severe outbreak' of virus at Merseyside club

Liverpool temporarily closed their training ground on Wednesday due to a rapidly growing number of suspected Covid  infections. PA

The League Cup semi-final first-leg between Arsenal and Liverpool on Thursday has been postponed due to a “severe outbreak” of Covid-19 at the Merseyside club.

Liverpool had requested that the match at the Emirates Stadium to be called off on Tuesday as the outbreak worsened at the club.

The English Football League (EFL) said in a statement it had been in “regular dialogue” with Liverpool “in an attempt to understand whether the tie could proceed".

On Wednesday, Liverpool temporarily closed their training ground due to a rapidly growing number of suspected infections.

Assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders — who took charge of the team during their 2-2 draw at Chelsea on Sunday when manager Jurgen Klopp was absent due to Covid — became the latest member of staff to test positive.

Players Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip returned positive tests on Sunday. Virgil van Dijk, Thiago Alcantara, Fabinho and Curtis Jones were also forced into isolation last month following positive tests.

The EFL statement continued: “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 among its squad and staff alongside ensuring public health was protected by not travelling from Liverpool to London.”

As a result, the order of the ties has been changed with the first of the two legs now taking place at Anfield on January 13, while the rearranged game will be played as the second leg at the Emirates on January 20.

The postponement will also put Liverpool’s FA Cup third-round tie at home to Shrewsbury Town on Sunday in doubt.

Updated: January 5th 2022, 1:49 PM