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Liverpool request postponement of Carabao Cup semi-final at Arsenal after further Covid cases

Liverpool played Sundays 2-2 draw at Chelsea without manager Jurgen Klopp and three players - Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip - after they tested positive; further testing found more cases in the squad, forcing the cancellation of Tuesdays

Liverpool have formally requested to have Thursday's Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Arsenal postponed after further cases of Covid-19 within the squad forced the cancellation of training on Tuesday.

The request was submitted after the latest round of testing found more cases within the first-team bubble, days after manager Jurgen Klopp and three players - Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip - were forced to miss Sunday's 2-2 draw at Chelsea after testing positive.

We can confirm an application has been submitted for the postponement of Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final, first-leg tie with Arsenal due to an escalating number of suspected positive COVID-19 cases and player availability.

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 4, 2022

A club statement said: "The Reds have formally requested to the EFL that the fixture is rescheduled after further suspected positive tests were registered among players and staff, allied to other factors impacting selection, including illness and injury.

"In response, the club halted preparations at the AXA Training Centre, meaning Tuesday's first-team training session was cancelled.

"Among the considerations which led to today's application to the EFL is the need for travelling supporters to be given as much notice as possible of any potential postponement."

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Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea's draw against Liverpool in the Premier League.

Liverpool were without a total of nine players for the match at Chelsea through illness and injury, and have subsequently lost Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane to Africa Cup of Nations duty.

The request for a postponement will also raise a question over Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie at home to Shrewsbury.

The return leg of the semi-final at Anfield is scheduled for January 13.

An EFL spokesperson said: "The league has this evening received a request from Liverpool to postpone Thursday's Carabao Cup semi-final first leg versus Arsenal, which will now be considered in accordance with the competition rules as set out at the start of the season alongside information submitted by the club.

"We will look to confirm the league's position as soon as possible once the circumstances have been fully reviewed."

Would Liverpool have to forfeit the match?

Back in September 2020, Leyton Orient were forced to forfeit their Carabao Cup third-round tie against Tottenham due to 18 of their first-team players and staff testing positive for Covid-19.

An order from the local health authority also meant Orient were unable to play the third-round fixture before the fourth round game, which was scheduled for a week later.

Rule 5.1 of the Carabao Cup competition states a club has to forfeit a match should they not be able to complete it before the next round is scheduled.

However, Liverpool should avoid forfeiting due to the final being scheduled for February 27. Effectively, Arsenal and Liverpool have until that date to play both semi-final legs.

Liverpool's next six fixtures

January 6: Arsenal (A) - Carabao Cup, live on Sky Sports

January 9: Shrewsbury (H) - FA Cup third round

January 13: Arsenal (H) - Carabao Cup

January 16: Brentford (H) - Premier League

January 23: Crystal Palace (A) - Premier League, live on Sky Sports

Which Premier League games have been called off?

Brighton vs Tottenham - Sunday, December 12

Brentford vs Man Utd - Tuesday, December 14

Burnley vs Watford - Wednesday, December 15

Leicester vs Tottenham - Thursday, December 16

Man Utd vs Brighton - Saturday, December 18

Southampton vs Brentford - Saturday, December 18

Watford vs Crystal Palace - Saturday, December 18

West Ham vs Norwich - Saturday, December 18

Aston Villa vs Burnley - Saturday, December 18

Everton vs Leicester - Sunday, December 19

Liverpool vs Leeds - Sunday, December 26

Wolves vs Watford -Sunday, December 26

Burnley vs Everton -Sunday, December 26

Leeds vs Aston Villa - Tuesday, December 28

Arsenal vs Wolves - Tuesday, December 28

Everton vs Newcastle - Thursday, December 30

Southampton vs Newcastle - Sunday, January 2

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