BREAKING NEWS: Liverpool plunged into more Covid chaos as Jurgen Klopp’s No 2 Pep Lijnders tests positive and their press conference is CANCELLED after asking the EFL to postpone Carabao Cup trip to Arsenal
- Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has now tested positive for Covid-19
- The first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at Arsenal is now in further disarray
- Lijnders was due to be in charge at the Emirates given Jurgen Klopp is isolating
- On Tuesday, the Reds submitted an official request for the match to be called off
Liverpool’s plans for the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal are in further disarray after Pep Lijnders tested positive for Covid-19.
Lijnders, who would have been in charge for the game at the Emirates Stadium given that Jurgen Klopp is isolating, discovered the result of his latest test late on Tuesday night.
The Dutchman was due to give a press conference at lunchtime on Wednesday but that has now been cancelled, with nobody else being put forward to speak ahead of the game at the Emirates Stadium.
Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders tested positive for Covid as their outbreak worsens
Lijnders has been deputising for manager Jurgen Klopp after he also tested positive last week
With the manager and his assistant now isolating, it raises further questions on whether the game will be able to be staged. If it does go ahead, there are no indications at this stage who might be asked to step up to fill in for Klopp and Lijnders.
Peter Kraweitz, the assistant manager, Vitor Matos, the elite development coach, and head of fitness Andreas Kornmayer are part of Klopp’s inner circle; Barry Lewtas is the club’s Under-23 head coach, but it is too early to say whether any of those will be expected to step forward.
Liverpool on Tuesday night submitted an official request for the match to be postponed after they were forced to cancel a scheduled training session due to a Covid outbreak amongst their squad, though they did not feel compelled to close their Kirkby base down completely.
As things stand, Liverpool 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.
Liverpool’s plans for the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at Arsenal are in further chaos
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.’
It is expected that if a club has 14 players available, including two goalkeepers, a fixture must go ahead.
Liverpool’s decision to apply for a postponement is a last resort, as there are very few gaps in the calendar and not many places to make a switch.