Pep Lijnders tests positive Covid-19
Jurgen Klopp assistant Lijnders was poised to take charge of the Reds in Thursday’s first leg at the Emirates Stadium with manager Jurgen Klopp still isolating after his own positive test.
But Lijnders will now join the German international in isolation and the news conference he was poised to lead on Wednesday has been cancelled.
The update comes a day after Liverpool formally requested the postponement of the first leg after confirming an “escalating number” of suspected COVID-19 cases.
Lijnders’ result came in after that application, which Liverpool are still awaiting a response to.
“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,” read a statement from the club.
“The assistant manager had been due to handle pre-match media duties at the AXA Training Centre in place of Jürgen Klopp, who is continuing to isolate having tested positive for the virus last week.
“However, 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 are indeed facing tough times after three of their first-team players left the squad for the Africa Cup of Nations scheduled to start in a few days time in Cameroon. Forwards Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane went to join up the Egypt and Senegal squads respectively while midfielder Naby Keita joined the Guinea squad.
The Reds currently sit third in the Premier League table one point behind second-placed Chelsea and 12 behind leaders Manchester City, albeit with a game in hand.