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Will Liverpool’s FA Cup fixture vs. Shrewsbury go ahead?

The postponement of Thursday’s game at Arsenal obviously puts Sunday’s FA Cup tie at home to Shrewsbury in massive doubt.

A Tweet from the LFCHelp Twitter account shortly after the Arsenal postponement stated that: “The match against Shrewsbury on Sun 9th Jan is still scheduled to go ahead but please keep checking our website for updates.”

However, with the training ground closed – and expected to be for the duration of Wednesday and Thursday at the least, just how Liverpool could fulfil Sunday’s fixture is far from clear.

Theoretically, they could train on Friday and Saturday with the players available – but how many players that is, is far from clear.

 

What we know

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 28, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp wearing a mask during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip would be, theoretically, able to return

The Brazilian duo would be able to return to training from Thursday, and Matip from Friday. That’s if they aren’t showing symptoms and get negative tests on the last two days of their isolation period.

Jurgen Klopp could also be able to return

However, he has been showing symptoms and would, again, need to be testing negative on his final two days of isolation. That seems doubtful.

“Significant” number of positives

What the club have said is that there are a “significant” number of cases, and that “the outbreak has left Liverpool without a sufficient number of players and staff to fulfil the contest as originally scheduled.”

Injured players

Thiago, Harvey Elliott, Nat Phillips, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino were unavailable due to injury vs. Chelsea, but Pep Lijnders had hinted that the latter duo were close to returns.

So provided that Origi and Minamino don’t have covid, they could be back. Possibly.

Andy Robertson could be back

Robertson has served his three-match ban, so again, he would be eligible if he hasn’t contracted covid.

Pep Lijnders is out

The assistant tested positive on Tuesday, so won’t be able to return from isolation until next Tuesday at the earliest possible date.

 

What we don’t know

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, October 18, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) chats with Andy Robertson (L) and James Milner (C) during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

How many cases Liverpool actually have

This is the crux of it. After Klopp had called for more transparency from clubs over covid cases last month, Liverpool haven’t been forthcoming with stating exactly how many cases they have had this week.

All we know is that they had positive cases among the players and staff on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings – leading to the closure of the training ground and the postponement of the Arsenal game.

 

The upshot

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 4, 2020: Liverpool and Shrewsbury Town players shake hands before the FA Cup 4th Round Replay match between Liverpool FC and Shrewsbury Town at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool will be keen to get this game played. If there is any way that it can go ahead, it will be.

Klopp will not want another postponement and thus another date to fit into the calendar.

Already, there’s the Leeds game yet to be re-arranged, while the Arsenal second leg now arrives a week later.

If Alisson, Matip and Firmino are okay, plus Robertson, Origi and Minamino, that helps with the squad numbers.

Klopp would be willing to bring in youngsters such as, say, Jarell Quansah, Owen Beck, Conor Bradley and Tyler Morton for this tie in order to get it played.

The major issue though is that anyone who tested positive on either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday will be unavailable on Sunday – and that is a “significant” amount.

As things stand, Sunday’s game can only be considered doubtful, but much depends on if Liverpool reveal the exact number of cases within the playing squad once initial suspected positive lateral flow tests have been confirmed by PCR tests.

Clear as mud, eh.

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