The Covid-19 outbreak at Liverpool has intensified, with assistant coach Pep Lijnders forced into isolation after a suspected positive test.
Liverpool, who have asked for their Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal on Thursday to be postponed on account of the outbreak, are already without manager Jurgen Klopp after he was forced into isolation after a positive test.
With Klopp absent, Lijnders was in charge for Liverpool’s clash with Chelsea on Sunday and was expected to be at the helm against Arsenal.
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However, the club released a statement confirming the development - and that a press conference slated for Wednesday had been called off, with their training ground also closed.
“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," Liverpool said.
“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.”
Liverpool were without Alisson Becker, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino for the 2-2 draw with Chelsea, and the club said further players and staff returned positive tests on Tuesday.
The Reds lost ground in the title race in December, and now find themselves 11 points adrift of Manchester City.
They also lost Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Naby Keita to international duty this week.
The Reds’ attention can temporarily turn away from the Premier League, as following the clash with Arsenal they face Shrewsbury in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.
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