Liverpool FA Cup tie in doubt due to “significant coronavirus outbreak” at Aston Villa

Aston Villa have confirmed the closure of their training ground due to a “significant coronavirus outbreak,” which puts Liverpool’s FA Cup third-round tie in doubt.

The Reds are due to travel to the Midlands this week to take on Dean Smith’s Villa side, but now it remains to be seen whether the game will go ahead.

Villa confirmed on Thursday afternoon that their Bodymoor Heath training ground has been closed with immediate effect due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among first-team players and staff that they have described as “significant.”

A club statement reads: “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.

“First-team training ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup match with Liverpool was cancelled.

“Discussions are ongoing between medical representatives of the club, the Football Association and the Premier League.”

It is unclear whether the FA Cup tie will be postponed or will go ahead with major changes for Villa, with two different scenarios already playing out ahead of the third round fixtures.

Derby are due to be without manager Wayne Rooney and the entire first-team squad for their trip to Chorley, with Gary Bowyer instead leading a side comprised of under-23s and under-18s players.

Meanwhile, Southampton vs. Shrewsbury has been called off following an outbreak within the League One side.

Shrewsbury face forfeiting the tie, with the FA previously telling clubs that games must go ahead if 14 fit players are available and registered, and while a rearranged fixture is possible, postponement is likely to lead to a Southampton win by default.

Liverpool and Villa will be in talks with the FA throughout Thursday and Friday in order to resolve the matter, but there is a strong possibility the game will be called off.