Premier League Covid crisis updates – Five weekend games off plus Spurs v Leicester, Jurgen Klopp urges booster take-up
A spate of Premier League games have been suspended in recent weeks a result of a rising number of positive coronavirus test results, and Brentford coach Thomas Frank thinks that the league should suspend the weekend's round of fixtures. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp wrote separately that he hopes people take up the vaccine on offer.
Cancel everything this weekend urges EPL Manager over Covid fears
Manchester United's game against Brentford in midweek was delayed indefinitely, and the club have issued a statement confirming their match with Brighton has been postponed due to a further 19 cases of Covid-19.
An official statement read: "Manchester United can confirm that our Premier League fixture against Brighton & Hove Albion, scheduled for Saturday 18 December at 12:30 GMT, has been postponed and will be rescheduled in due course.
"The health of players and staff is our priority. Given the number of players and support staff having to isolate due to COVID-19, the club had no option other than to request the match be rearranged. The Premier League board took the decision to postpone based on guidance from medical advisors.
"We will also suspend football training operations at the Carrington Training Complex for a short period to help reduce risk of further transmission."
"We think we should postpone the full round of Premier League games this weekend," Frank said on Thursday morning.
"Covid cases are going through the roof at all Premier League clubs, everyone is dealing with it and having problems.
"To postpone this round and also the Carabao Cup round would give everyone a week at least, or four or five days to clean and do everything at the training ground so everything is clean and you break the chain."
Brighton lost 1-0 to Wolves, and after the game he confirmed the request, saying: “We asked the question, yes, because of our situation.
“That's my job. I'm the head coach, you've got to try to prepare the team as best you can, so it's not about disappointment or not.
“It is what it is. All you can do is put your case forward and speak to the people, and they make the decision.”
Lowton admits frustration
Meanwhile, Burnley defender Matt Lowton was angered with top flight officials after they did postpone their game with Watford, with the fixture called off just two hours before kick off.
“It is very frustrating, we’d done all the work building up to it, get to the game and obviously you’re ready to play”, he said.
“We were sat eating the pre-match meal when the sports scientist came in and said it was off”.
With a game against Aston Villa on the horizon, Lowton hopes Frank’s calls for a blanket postponement don’t materialise, but does recognise that “the safety of players, fans and things like that is paramount. So hopefully the game can go ahead, but I can see why, if they did call it like that, you can see where they are coming from."
Juergen Klopp, Head coach of Liverpool FC greets fans during the UEFA Champions League match AC Milan between Liverpool FC at San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy on December 07, 2021
Image credit: Getty Images
Klopp calls for vaccine and booster take-up
Elsewhere, Liverpool boss wrote on the club's website that people should take up vaccine and boosters offered against the coronavirus.
"At the time of writing this column I have no idea what impact the previous game against Aston Villa will have had on team selection. There is of course a wider national conversation on the increasing spread of COVID, both in the country but at football clubs also," he wrote.
My message around this has always been simple and clear, I hope: I trust experts. I follow the advice of smart, educated people who know their field because they’ve dedicated their lives to it and have studied it.
"We are clearly moving back to stricter measures around the team environment and at LFC we are absolutely OK with that. As I have spoken about before, we have a very high take-up of the vaccine at our club and have done for a long time. It might be 100 per cent now or as close as is possible, so that’s important.
"I have no issue telling you I received my booster jab as soon as I was eligible and again that will be the case for many if not nearly all within our ranks in the coming days and weeks.
"I won’t apologise for the view I hold on the vaccination, no matter how unpopular it might make me in certain sections of society. I’m the same privately as I am publicly on this.
"If I come across friends or people I care about in my life away from football and they tell me they haven’t had a jab yet, I do my best to encourage them to listen to experts. It’s never a case of ‘listen to me’ – it’s always ‘listen to those who know’.
"Ignore those who pretend to know. Ignore lies and misinformation. Listen to people who know best. If you do that, you end up wanting the vaccine and the booster."
Leicester vs Spurs called off
Leicester vs Spurs was also cancelled on Thurday afternoon in response to the growing rise in concern over the spread of cases.