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COVID-hit Liverpool ask for cup semi delay

Thursday’s League Cup semi-final first leg between Arsenal and Liverpool could be postponed following a COVID-19 outbreak in the visitors camp.

Other fixtures are also at risk this weekend as the resumption of football on mainland Europe clashes with the continuing surge of the Omicron variant of the virus.

Liverpool were forced to cancel training on Tuesday after more positive tests among their squad. Manager Jurgen Klopp was already self-isolating along with three first-team players.

The Anfield club were without a total of nine players for Sunday’s 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.

In Italy one out of every 10 players in Serie A is positive ahead of Thursday’s return to action.

Salernitana’s match at home to Venezia is at risk with nine players contracting COVID-19 while Inter Milan (Edin Dzeko), Napoli (Victor Osimhen) and Juventus (Giorgio Chiellini) are each missing leading players because of the virus.

Stadium capacities have been reduced from 75% to 50% following a government decree aimed at combatting the latest outbreak and spectators must now wear FFP2 masks.

Bundesliga leaders Bayern have eight players in isolation and their match on Friday against Borussia Moenchengladbach, who also have cases, will be in danger if more infections occur.

Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig and Hertha Berlin also have several infected players.

Barcelona have had 14 players test positive in recent days ahead of Wednesday’s Kings Cup match at third-tier Linares Deportivo but Spanish policy is to play matches even if a team is filled with reserve players.

In France five players have positive at Paris St Germain this week including Lionel Messi, with goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma the latest.

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