Support our independent LFC content & go advert-free.
Support our independent Liverpool FC content and go advert-free with This Is Anfield Premium.

The problems Liverpool would face if Arsenal game is postponed again

With suggestions that Arsenal could look to postpone the second leg of the League Cup semi-final, any rearranged fixture would cause Liverpool major problems.

Arsenal were successful in their application to the Premier League to postpone the north London derby on Sunday, with Tottenhamextremely surprised” that it was approved.

Spurs outlined “unintended consequences” of the ruling over postponing games due to absences related to COVID-19, asking for “clarity and consistency,” with the Gunners having seen only one positive test prior to their request.

Mikel Arteta is without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Omar Rekik due to the Africa Cup of Nations, while Martin Odegaard has been in isolation and Granit Xhaka is suspended.

There have also been injury problems for Emile Smith Rowe, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Sead Kolasinac and doubts over the fitness of Bukayo Saka, Cedric Soares, Calum Chambers and Kieran Tierney.

  • Rumoured new date: Tuesday, Jan 25, 7.45pm
  • Alisson, Fabinho, Minamino due on international duty
  • Liverpool and Arsenal would both play twice in three days
  • Squads already reduced by AFCON and injuries
  • Players likely to have holidays booked; LFC preparing as usual
  • Game must be played before final on February 27

That would leave Arsenal short of senior players, but the lines are blurred over whether those mentioned would, in fact, be fit, and whether Arteta could – or should – turn to his academy.

The i‘s Sam Cunningham has claimed that the north London club “remain unsure if they will have a squad available,” with players “assessed day by day.”

It has since been suggested that the second leg, which was initially scheduled as the first leg before a Covid outbreak saw Liverpool themselves request its postponement, could be moved to next week.

A tentative date of Tuesday, January 25 has been mentioned, but if that is the case, it could cause major problems for Liverpool.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 13, 2022: Liverpool's Joel Matip (R) and Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Namely, it would come due it falling in the unofficial winter break for the Premier League, during which time three Reds first-team players depart for international duty.

Brazil and Japan will both play World Cup qualifiers between now and the end of February, with Alisson and Fabinho called up by Brazil and Takumi Minamino expected to be included for Japan.

The proposed 7.45pm kickoff on that Tuesday would come 38 hours before Japan are due to host China.

Furthermore, the AFCON is ongoing and that would mean Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita remain unavailable, as was always the case with these semi-finals.

There is also the issue of players who are not on international duty having already booked time away, as would be anticipated during a scheduled winter break.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 13, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp is interviewed by LFC.TV after the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And not least, shifting the game from this Thursday to next Tuesday would mean both Liverpool and Arsenal being in line to play twice in three days.

Arsenal‘s clash with Burnley on Sunday is also under risk of postponement, with the club willingly decreasing their senior squad by sanctioning loans for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Folarin Balogun and, soon, Pablo Mari.

It seems highly unlikely that Liverpool would agree to this rescheduling, with fitness problems of their own – including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who picked up an ankle injury at the weekend – decreasing the options available further.

As of now, Liverpool are pushing forward with preparation as usual, with the club announcing earlier on Tuesday that Pepijn Lijnders would take his pre-match press conference at 11am on Wednesday morning.

Get the historic souvenir Liverpool vs. Real Madrid Champions League Final 2022 matchday programme, with worldwide delivery.

Fan Comments