The extent of the Covid outbreak at Liverpool this week isn’t yet entirely clear. What is clear a day after the club requested a postponement of Thursday’s League Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal is that the situation isn’t good.
In fact, even in the 24 hours since that request, the situation appears to have gotten worse, with assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders—who filled in for an isolating Jürgen Klopp over the weekend against Chelsea—returning a positive test and entering isolation.
Between players and staff who have so far tested positive, the club have also today taken the step to shut down the AXA Training centre and halt all training activities, with even those who haven’t returned positives staying home.
Rumours of who and how many players are out remain rumours, at least beyond Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino, and Joël Matip who missed Sunday’s match, but by all accounts they would currently have no ability to field a squad for Thursday’s game.
The English Football League, who run the League Cup, as well as its broadcasters will undoubtedly be loathe to see Liverpool field a noncompetitive team on Thursday night in what was intended to be a headlining match.
Liverpool sending out an unprepared youth side like the one that beaten 5-0 by Aston Villa a few years back while the first team headed to Qatar for the Club World Cup would likely make the second leg meaningless and be a blow to bottom lines.
Given it could be two weeks before Liverpool can field a competitive squad, though, there will be real questions as to where and how the match could be postponed, even if that’s the only way to maintain the integrity of the competition.
Update: The EFL have chosen to postpone Thursday’s semi-final first leg between Liverpool and Arsenal.