EPL

Arsenal v Liverpool in further doubt after Lijnders tests positive for COVID-19

By Sports Desk January 05, 2022

The EFL Cup semi-final tie between Liverpool and Arsenal has been thrown into further doubt after Pep Lijnders returned a suspected positive COVID-19 test.

Liverpool assistant Lijnders was poised to take charge of the Reds in Thursday's first leg at the Emirates Stadium with manager Jurgen Klopp still isolating after his own positive test.

But Lijnders will now join the German in isolation and the news conference he was poised to lead on Wednesday has been cancelled.

The update comes a day after Liverpool formally requested the postponement of the first leg after confirming an "escalating number" of suspected COVID-19 cases.

Lijnders' result came in after that application, which Liverpool are still awaiting a response to. 

"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," read a statement from the club.

"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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