Jurgen Klopp has revealed that false positive Covid-19 test results were behind the postponement of Liverpool’s Carabao Cup semi-final with Arsenal.
The first-leg of the tie was due to take place last Thursday but the Reds had a postponement request granted by the EFL after the Covid outbreak which had hampered them in previous fixtures seemed to worsen.
Alisson Becker, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino all missed the 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge after contracting the virus, while Klopp himself was absent from the touchline for the same reason. Assistant Pep Lijnders took charge on that occasion before subsequently testing positive himself.
By Wednesday the Reds were forced to close their Kirkby training ground after the outbreak appeared to spread, resulting in the delay of the Arsenal fixure and the loss of home advantage in the second-leg. Now, though, Klopp, says the majority of positive test results returned were incorrect.
The Reds fielded a youthful line-up for the FA Cup third round victory over Shrewsbury Town on Sunday, which the players who returned false positives barred from playing.
‘We had last week a proper outbreak and it showed up that we had a lot of false positives but the rules are like they are so all these players who are false positives couldn’t play [against Shrewsbury],’ Klopp said.
‘The only real positive came from Trent Alexander-Arnold and all the rest were false positives.’
Kaide Gordon, 17, became the second-youngest goalscorer in Liverpool history when he equalised with a smart turn and finish inside the penalty area in the first-half, while other youngsters including Connor Bradley, Tyler Morton and Elijah Dixon-Bonner impressed too.
‘This was the team we could line up with today and the boys did really well,’ Klopp said afterwards.
The new first-leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final will now take place at Anfield this coming Thursday.
Those players who returned false positives will be able to play, and Alexander-Arnold will have completed his period of isolation in time for kick-off.
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