Arsenal vs Liverpool clash thrown into further doubt as Covid-ravaged Reds close training ground

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Liverpool have closed their first-team training centre at Kirkby  (AFP via Getty Images)
Liverpool have closed their first-team training centre at Kirkby (AFP via Getty Images)

Liverpool have been forced to shut their first-team training centre, throwing Thursday’s match against Arsenal into further doubt.

The Reds have taken the decision after consulting with the relevant Public Health Authorities. It is not known how long the centre at Kirkby will be shut for, but it is likely to remained closed for the next 48 hours.

Liverpool contacted the EFL on Tuesday night to request that the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Thursday night be postponed.

The club is suffering from a Covid-19 outbreak and on Wednesday morning there have been further suspected positive cases amongst players and staff.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is already isolating after testing positive last week and his assistant Pep Lijnders, who was due to take charge of the team at Arsenal having filled in against Chelsea, is now in the same situation.

Lijnders tested positive late on Tuesday night and, per Government guidelines, is now in isolation.

In a statement on Wednesday, Liverpool said: “Liverpool Football Club can confirm the first-team training facilities at AXA Training Centre have been temporarily closed due to a rapidly growing number of suspected positive COVID-19 cases.

“The Reds acted to suspend operations within the facility today after the latest round of testing revealed multiple new suspected positives.

“The decision was made after consultation with the relevant Public Health authority.

“The new cases are in addition to those recorded on Monday and Tuesday morning.

“Among the multiple players and staff who tested positive in the latest round was Pepijn Lijnders, resulting in the cancellation of the pre-Arsenal press conference he had been due to host this morning.

“The club has lodged an application with the EFL for the postponement of Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final, first-leg tie with the Gunners at Emirates Stadium. The outcome of that submission is currently pending.

“We will offer a further update on the reopening of the training centre in due course.”

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