Liverpool’s Covid-19 crisis worsens as Pep Lijnders tests positive before Arsenal Carabao Cup semi-final

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Assistant Pep Lijnders filled in for absent Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp against Chelsea  (Getty Images)
Assistant Pep Lijnders filled in for absent Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp against Chelsea (Getty Images)

Liverpool’s Covid-19 problems ahead of their match against Arsenal have increased after assistant manager Pep Lijnders tested positive for the virus.

Lijnders received his positive test result late last night and, per Government guidelines, is now isolating.

The news comes after Liverpool requested on Tuesday night for the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final with Arsenal, due to take place at Emirates Stadium on Thursday night, to be postponed.

The Reds are battling a Covid outbreak that saw manager Jurgen Klopp test positive for the virus last week and miss Sunday’s draw at Chelsea, along with other members of backroom staff and key trio Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip.

Lijnders stepped in to take charge of the team at Stamford Bridge, but would not be able to fulfil the same role against Arsenal.

Lijnders had also been planning to conduct Liverpool’s pre-match press conference on Tuesday, but that has now been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, Liverpool said: “Liverpool Football Club can confirm Pepijn Lijnders has returned a suspected positive test for COVID-19, further impacting the club’s preparations for Thursday’s Carabao Cup tie with Arsenal.

“As an additional consequence, this morning’s scheduled press conference to preview the fixture has been cancelled.

“The assistant manager had been due to handle pre-match media duties at the AXA Training Centre in place of Jürgen Klopp, who is continuing to isolate having tested positive for the virus last week.

“However, Lijnders recorded a positive test late on Tuesday evening, meaning he has now also gone into isolation.

“The 38-year-old took interim charge of Liverpool for the weekend draw at Chelsea in the absence of Klopp and had been set to continue at the helm at Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

“Lijnders’ test result comes in addition to a number of suspected positive cases among players and football staff recorded earlier on Tuesday, which forced the cancellation of the day’s scheduled training session.

“As a result of the outbreak and the suspension of preparations, as well as other illnesses and injuries recorded within the squad, the club submitted an application to the EFL for the postponement of Thursday’s tie with Arsenal, with the news of Lijnders’ positive result coming after the request was lodged.

“The outcome of this application is still pending.”

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