Liverpool’s Champions League first leg clash in the round-of-16 against RB Leipzig will not be allowed to take place in Germany, officals from Angela Merkel’s government have confirmed.
The Reds were paired with the Bundesliga outfit and were due to travel to Leipzig on Tuesday February 16. However, the match will not take place in Saxony. That’s after the German government barred entry from countries which have recorded mutant strains of Covid-19. As things stand, that travel ban is in place until Wednesday February 17.
However, despite the ban currently expiring a day later, officials have contacted Leipzig to say no special allowances will be made.
The news will come as a small lift to Liverpool, winners of the competition in 2019. There has been talk that the ‘home’ leg for Leipzig could now take place in London.
Alternatively, and in order not to concede home advantage, it’s reported by Metro that the two legs could be switched. That would mean the first leg now taking place at Anfield on Tuesday 16, with the return in Leipzig on March 10.
“The Corona Protection Ordinance passed by the German government last Friday provides for only a few exceptions and no special regulations for professional athletes,” a statement from the German government said. “The Federal Police informed the club RB Leipzig today that the described case constellation does not fall under the exceptions.”
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It’s understood talks will be held between UEFA and the German government to try and find a solution. Possible options will then be put to both Leipzig and Liverpool.
It’s even suggested that, like last season, the match could take place as a one-off knockout match on a neutral venue.
Big issues for Liverpool duo
The fatigue problems engulfing Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson look unlikely to be resolved this season, according to two leading pundits.
Klopp has stated that their injury problems, which have heaped the workload on those that remain fit, have contributed to their problems. That has been apparent in their usually attack-minded full-back pairing Alexander-Arnold and Robertson.
However, the duo have both been below their best at various stages this season. In fact, pundits Craig Burley and Steve Nicol can’t see the issues around their fatigue getting resolved any time soon.
Speaking on ESPN, Burley said: “It is no surprise that in Klopp’s system and in his way that he plays, the full-backs probably have to do the biggest shift.
“There might be some data that tells you a midfielder runs more on the odd occasion. If you watch Liverpool, those two boys have run the whole length of the field and back for 90 minutes.
“That looks like it’s biting them in the backside now because they are getting up and down, but it’s laboured. And you can only ask people to do it for so often. There’s lots of reasons but I think that’s a big one.”
When asked how Klopp fixes the issue, Burley’s fellow pundit Nicol feared the worst.
“If it’s a fatigue problem, it’s not going to be fixed,” he said. “There isn’t time to recover, there isn’t time to rest people. They have to get on with it. They have to find a way.”