Premier League • England

Liverpool face further headache as assistant boss Lijnders tests positive for Covid-19

Jonny Whitfield
Liverpool coaches Pep Lijnders and Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool have been given further problems after assistant boss Pep Lijnders followed manager Jurgen Klopp in testing positive for Covid-19.

The Reds have suffered mounting coronavirus concerns in recent weeks, starting with a number of players testing positive. Indeed, Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho were among the first cohort to contract the virus.

Klopp revealed last Friday that three more first-team players would miss Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea after testing positive.

However, he did not know then that he would also test positive alongside Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip and miss the clash at Stamford Bridge.

As a result of the latest outbreak at Liverpool, the Reds requested the postponement of Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal. They also cancelled training on Tuesday evening.

Now, though, the match in north London has been thrown into further doubt. Indeed, Liverpool assistant manager Lijnders has returned a positive test.

He will now observe a period of self-isolation alongside a number of Liverpool stars and Klopp.

The club have subsequently shelved plans for a pre-match press conference at 11am on Wednesday. The Liverpool Echo also reports that the Reds have no contingency plan currently in place.

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It remains unclear whether the EFL will agree to postpone Thursday’s match and they are still in discussions with Liverpool and Arsenal.

The Anfield club would also be without Thiago Alcantara, Takumi Minamino, Nathaniel Phillips, Divock Origi and Harvey Elliott through injury.

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Furthermore, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita have gone on Africa Cup of Nations duty.

It is also unclear who would be in the dugout at the Emirates Stadium, with Klopp and Lijnders isolating.

Lijnders test follows Liverpool statement

Pep Lijnders during a Liverpool warm up

Liverpool’s statement on Tuesday said: “The Reds have formally requested to the EFL that the fixture is rescheduled after further suspected positive tests were registered among players and staff, allied to other factors impacting selection, including illness and injury.

“In response, the club halted preparations at the AXA Training Centre, meaning Tuesday’s first-team training session was cancelled.

“Among the considerations which led to today’s application to the EFL is the need for travelling supporters to be given as much notice as possible of any potential postponement.”

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