Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has recorded a positive Covid-19 test, putting Thursday’s trip to Arsenal in further doubt.
With manager Jurgen Klopp and three players – Alisson Becker, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino – already isolating, Lijnders, who took charge of the team for Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea, recorded a positive test late on Tuesday night.
That was after Liverpool had made a submission to the EFL to postpone Thursday’s first-leg clash at the Emirates in the wake of further positive cases among the squad and other player availability issues linked to illness and injury.
The club have cancelled their pre-match press conference, at which Lijnders was due to speak, and have no plans to rearrange it.
A club statement read: “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.
“As an additional consequence, this morning’s scheduled press conference to preview the fixture has been cancelled.
We can confirm Pepijn Lijnders has returned a suspected positive test for COVID-19, further impacting our preparations for Thursday’s Carabao Cup tie with Arsenal.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 5, 2022
“The assistant manager had been due to handle pre-match media duties at the AXA Training Centre in place of Jurgen 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.
“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 also missing Thiago Alcantara, Takumi Minamino, Nat Phillips and Harvey Elliott through injury, while Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita are now at the Africa Cup of Nations.