Aston Villa Covid outbreak leaves Liverpool FA Cup tie in doubt

Aston Villa’s FA Cup tie with Liverpool on Friday is in doubt after Villa’s first-team squad were forced into self-isolation by a Covid outbreak at the club.

The Football Association said a decision would be made on Friday “pending the results of additional Covid-19 testing” and that it was working with Villa to try to ensure the game can go ahead.

It is unclear whether Villa will be able to field youth players, as Derby County intend to do against Chorley following an outbreak at their club.

Villa, who have closed their training ground, said in a statement: “A large number of first-team players and staff returned positive tests after being routinely tested on Monday and immediately went into isolation. A second round of testing was carried out immediately and produced more positive results today.”

The team have not trained since Tuesday, when the results of Monday’s tests emerged. “Discussions are ongoing between medical representatives of the club, the Football Association and the Premier League,” Villa said.

Dean Smith did not attend a scheduled online press conference on Thursday to preview the match against Liverpool.

Southampton, meanwhile, could be awarded a walkover against Shrewsbury Town as a result of a high number of cases at the Shropshire club which means the tie will not take place on Saturday.

Two West Brom players tested positive on Sunday but Sam Allardyce, their manager, said: “We’re comfortable with where we are at the moment and looking forward to playing in the FA Cup at Blackpool.” Sean Dyche reported “a couple of cases” at Burnley, who are at home to MK Dons.

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