EPL

Van Dijk, Fabinho and Jones out of Newcastle clash due to suspected positive COVID-19 tests

By Sports Desk December 16, 2021

Liverpool will be without Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones for Thursday's Premier League clash with Newcastle United after they returned suspected positive COVID-19 tests.

The Reds revealed just over an hour before kick-off that defender Van Dijk will miss the match at Anfield along with midfielders Fabinho and Jones.

Ibrahima Konate partners Joel Matip at the heart of the Liverpool defence in the absence of Van Dijk.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, captain Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara make up Jurgen Klopp's midfield, with forward Diogo Jota coming into the starting line-up.

Soaring numbers of coronavirus cases have led to further Premier League matches being postponed this weekend, with Everton's trip to Leicester City, West Ham's home game against Norwich City, Watford's match against Crystal Palace and Southampton's clash with Brentford off.

It was earlier announced that Manchester United will not face Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday due to an outbreak in the Red Devils camp, while also led to their match at Brentford on Tuesday being postponed.

Leicester's home game against Tottenham on Thursday was also called off due to positive cases in the FA Cup holders' squad, while Burnley's home fixture with Watford could not be played on Tuesday.

The Premier League said in a statement: "The board assesses applications to postpone matches on a case-by-case basis, based on existing rules and COVID-19 postponement guidance issued to all clubs.

"It will assess a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of the COVID-19 outbreak at the club; and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match.

"The board must also consider the wider risks to the opposition and other people the club representatives may come into contact with.

"With the health and wellbeing of all players and staff the priority, and in light of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, the Premier League has reintroduced emergency measures.

"These include protocols such as more frequent testing, wearing face coverings while indoors, observing social distancing and limiting treatment time."

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    QPR produced a shock result at the King Power Stadium as goals from Ilias Chair and Sinclair Armstrong earned them a 2-1 win that boosts their hopes of avoiding relegation.

    Leicester pulled a back through defender Ben Nelson’s first senior goal but they could not find an equaliser and both Ipswich and Leeds are closing in on the leaders.

    “It’s a bad feeling. In the last three defeats, we dominated with the chances but the most important thing is to score goals. We lacked quality in the last third,” said Maresca.

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    QPR manager Marti Cifuentes praised his players, but said a “great escape” is still not complete after a third successive win, which only lifted them one place up the table and leaves them outside the bottom three only on goal difference.

    “We performed at a really high level against a team that is extremely good. They are a very good side with a fantastic coach and I’m sure they will go up despite the last three defeats,” said Cifuentes.

    “All the credit to the players because they were very well organised for a long time. We were clinical as we had to be.

    “I thought Leicester would be more dangerous and angry after the last two defeats.

    “It was an important win for us, but I’m not getting carried away with a victory. The reality is the table shows we are still in a big battle. To get out and achieve this great escape, there is still a lot more to be done.”

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  • Stephen Robinson salutes St Mirren character after dramatic win over Aberdeen Stephen Robinson salutes St Mirren character after dramatic win over Aberdeen

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