Liverpool cancel training with discussions held to postpone Arsenal Carabao Cup tie

Liverpool pleased with draw at Stamford Bridge

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Liverpool have reportedly cancelled their Tuesday afternoon training session in light of growing Covid cases within the squad. Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal is under threat as a result, with discussions believed to be underway between Liverpool and the EFL even though a formal request has not yet been lodged to postpone the match.

As it stands, Thursday’s first-leg tie at the Emirates is set to go ahead until further action is taken. 

Liverpool’s training ground remained open today despite the 4pm training session being cancelled, according to The Athletic. 

Jurgen Klopp’s side battled to a 2-2 draw against Chelsea on Sunday, despite missing nine senior players and the manager himself. 

But Thursday’s semi-final could prove a bridge too far, with more Covid cases reported in the squad. 

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The Reds’ situation is not helped by the recent departures of Naby Keita, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who have jetted off to the Africa Cup of Nations. 

And the absences are not only related to the playing squad, with three members of Klopp’s staff missing at Stamford Bridge too. 

The German is expected to be absent against the Gunners if the game goes ahead, while Alisson Becker, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino are also expected to be ruled out still with Covid. 

The EFL’s criteria requires clubs to be able to field a side of 13 players, plus one goalkeeper, which could put Liverpool in jeopardy if their outbreak worsens. 

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It remains to be seen how a prospective postponement would affect the weekend’s FA Cup third-round clash at home to Shrewsbury. 

Arsenal have not been able to shake Covid issues either, with Eddie Nketiah and manager Mikel Arteta missing Saturday’s last-gasp defeat against Manchester City. 

The Gunners boss is expected to return to the dugout against Liverpool, however, as long as the game goes ahead. 

Postponements have left Premier League sides staring down the barrel of congested fixture lists over the coming weeks, with squads already stretched over the festive period. 

Clubs like City, who have been relatively unscathed in the face of Covid outbreaks, sit on 21 Premier League matches while Burnley are four behind on 17. 

That difference could get even worse over the coming weeks, although UEFA have helped out Premier League authorities by allowing games to be played on the same midweek nights as European fixtures. 

The extent to which that will come into play for Liverpool or Arsenal remains to be seen as the Reds weigh up whether to submit a formal request to cancel this week’s semi-final. 

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