Arsenal’s duel with Liverpool in the semifinals of the Carabao Cup has been postponed. The EFL have reached this decision following a formal request from the Merseysiders submitted on Wednesday morning, due to an increasing COVID-19 outbreak.
Both manager Jurgen Klopp and his right-hand man Pep Lijnders are among those who recently tested positive for the notorious virus, along with an unspecified number of first-team players. Quite apart from that, Liverpool would be without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita anyway, with the two star forwards and the midfielder all away on international duty at the African Cup of Nations.
A total of 18 Premier League matches have already been postponed due to outbreaks plaguing numerous clubs. Klopp already missed Liverpool’s vital clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur will still play their double header in the other semifinal as planned. Meanwhile, the Gunners are now scheduled to travel to Liverpool first on January 13th, and the rematch at the Emirates should take place a week later.
“The first leg of the Carabao 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 official EFL statement reads.
“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.
“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.
“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 13 January 2022 at 7.45pm. The rearranged game (now the 2nd leg) is scheduled to be played at the Emirates on 20 January 2022 at 7.45pm.”