Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones will all MISS Liverpool’s game against Newcastle tonight after registering suspected positive Covid-19 tests – but clash at Anfield WILL still go ahead
- Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones all suspected to have tested positive
- The Liverpool duo are now isolating as they await the results of PCR tests
- They will therefore all miss Thursday’s Premier League fixture against Newcastle
- Three Chelsea stars are also positive as pressure mounts to pause the season
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will be without three key players for tonight’s clash against Newcastle with Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones all missing out due to Covid-19 tests.
A club statement read: ‘Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Virgil van Dijk will miss tonight’s Premier League fixture against Newcastle United after registering suspected positive tests for COVID-19. The three players are now isolating.
‘As a result, the entire Reds’ set-up, including all players and staff, were tested for COVID-19 again today with no further positive cases being detected.
Virgil van Dijk is one of three Liverpool players who will miss tonight’s game against Newcastle
Fabinho (left) and Curtis Jones (right) are the other two missing out due to Covid-19 tests
‘Supporters attending the game at Anfield are reminded of the new entry requirements and protocols in place to protect public safety.’
The trio are now awaiting the PCR test results which they took on Thursday, and they were therefore not considered by Klopp against Eddie Howe’s men.
Van Dijk and Fabinho both started the victory against Aston Villa at the weekend and are replaced by Joel Matip and Diogo Jota in the XI respectively against Newcastle.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain meanwhile drops back from his advanced role at the weekend to play in midfield.
Despite the emergence of Covid cases within the squad, Klopp said there was no thought given to asking the League to join the list of postponed matches.
HOW OMICRON HAS THE PREMIER LEAGUE ON EDGE
The Bees have 13 cases among players and staff – the club are now calling for a circuit-breaker shutdown to help clubs recover. Their training ground has been closed and as a result their trip to Southampton on Saturday has been postponed.
Would have been without several players for Tottenham’s visit on Thursday due to Covid before the game was postponed – despite initial calls being rejected – hours before kick-off. Their training ground was closed on Thursday morning to contain the outbreak but given they have an insufficient number of players available, their weekend trip to Everton is also off.
Case numbers are currently unknown but a large outbreak saw their game with Brentford postponed. Calls to have Saturday’s game with Brighton to be postponed were accepted on Thursday due to the outbreak at the club.
Had request to have Wednesday’s game with Wolves postponed rejected by the Premier League following an outbreak at the club. Graham Potter confirmed there were ‘three to four’ positive cases before the game. Game with Manchester United has now been postponed.
Dean Smith was facing an anxious wait to discover the full extent of the outbreak at the club. The Canaries had discussions with the Premier League over Saturday’s clash with West Ham and it was agreed to postpone as they have an insufficient number of players available.
Saw the game with Burnley postponed just hours before kick-off. Case numbers currently unknown. With their training ground closed, their home match with Crystal Palace has now been confirmed as postponed.
Spurs were the first Premier League club to be hit by the Omicron variant last week and saw games against Brighton and Rennes postponed after cases reached double digits among players and staff. Those who tested positive for the virus are expected to return in the next couple of days after completing their 10-day self-isolation period. Spurs’ clash with Leicester on Thursday is postponed despite initial demands to have the game called off were rejected.
After Brentford, the Blues became the latest club to be hit by a Covid outbreak, after it was confirmed ahead of their game with Everton that three more first-team players had tested positive for Covid, with Mateo Kovacic the first Chelsea player to get the virus this week.
It was confirmed just an hour before kick-off against Newcastle on Thursday night that Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Virgil van Dijk are all out having tested positive for Covid.
‘Honestly, I think at one point we have to make clear what exactly the rules are, but of course with three players out and this squad we wouldn’t have asked to not play a football game,’ Klopp told BT Sport before the game.
Liverpool start second in the table ahead of the going game, four points behind leaders Manchester City, but van Dijk – who has made 19 appearances this term – will miss out along with Fabinho and Jones.
Meanwhile, three Chelsea players have also tested positive for coronavirus as cases continue to emerge among their playing squad – but their clash with Everton at Stamford Bridge is still going ahead.
The west Londoners already have Mateo Kovacic in isolation after he tested positive for Covid last week – with Thomas Tuchel’s plans serious disrupted for the Stamford Bridge clash.
Joel Matip (left) replaces van Dijk while Diogo Jota (right) comes in for Fabinho
Four more matches that were due to take place this weekend have also been postponed, with pressure very much mounting for the Premier League to pause the current campaign.
Southampton and Brentford, Watford and Crystal Palace, West Ham and Norwich, and Everton against Leicester have all been postponed due to Covid outbreaks.
However, the Premier League is still as yet resisting a complete suspension of the weekend programme and said in a statement: ‘All other fixtures due to be played this weekend are currently scheduled to proceed as planned.’
Whether the news from Stamford Bridge and Anfield would change their stance is yet unknown.
Three more Chelsea players have tested positive for coronavirus, according to reports
Brentford manager Thomas Frank called for a ‘circuit-break’ shutdown today, an increasing number of clubs are said to be keen on the idea of stopping play until January 8, next year, according to ESPN.
Frank initially told reporters the total of Brentford cases was at nine but then was informed mid-press conference that four more club personnel tested positive overnight.
‘We think we should postpone the full round of Premier League games this weekend. Covid cases are going through the roof at all Premier League clubs, everyone is dealing with it and having problems,’ he said.
‘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.
‘Also in football, you need close contact. Physios need to do their job with players in treatment. We are in dressing room on matchdays, we are travelling by coaches so it’s a little bit more difficult to work from home.’
Brentford manager Thomas Frank called for a ‘circuit-break’ shutdown as cases rose at his club
Frank believes a decision to halt this weekend’s round of top-flight fixtures could be enough to sure the busy festive programme will be able to go ahead largely as planned.
‘We fully respect that we want to play and it is important football keeps going, and this way we can make sure Boxing Day keeps going, I’m 100 per cent sure of that,’ added Frank.
‘This Omicron variant is running like wildfire around the world and I think we need to do all we can to protect and avoid it.
Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester have been one of the clubs most affected by Covid recently
‘I think we can do a lot by closing down training grounds for three, four or five days, and then we can go again.’
As well as Brentford’s clash with Manchester United, Burnley’s match against Watford on Wednesday was called off two hours before kick-off after the Hornets announced an outbreak in their team.
The Omicron variant has led to a large increase of cases in the UK, with Wednesday seeing 78,610 people testing positive – the highest daily number since the pandemic began last year.
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