Liverpool manger Jurgen Klopp is the latest casualty for the big Sunday clash against Chelsea in the Premier League.
The continuing coronavirus outbreak had cast a doubt over the match at Stamford Bridge, and now the visitors will be without their mentor on the touchline.
The second and third-placed teams in the English Premier League table are due to meet at Stamford Bridge at 8.30pm UAE time on Sunday, and Liverpool coach Klopp has already revealed that three of his players have tested positive for COVID-19.
Assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders will take charge at Stamford Bridge in the absence of Klopp, who is isolating after reporting mild symptoms.
“We have three new COVID cases in the team and a few more in the staff so it’s not so cool in the moment,” Klopp said. “I’m not able to say who it is but it’ll be pretty clear on the team sheet.”
As it stands, the game should go ahead, but any further positive tests could put the game in jeopardy.
Asked whether the situation could force Liverpool to seek a postponement, Klopp said: “Not yet, but we don’t know. We never had this kind of proper outbreak where 10, 15, 20 players had it, for us, it’s more every day another one. Staff happens now more and more often, so as I said before it feels like a lottery in the morning when you stand there and you wait for the result.”
Newcastle United’s match at Southampton is already off. The Premier League said a combination of Covid-19 cases and injuries meant 19th-place Newcastle do not have the required 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper available to face Southampton at St Mary’s.
The league said in a statement that it “was able to make its decision in advance of the fixture to give clarity to the affected clubs and their fans”.
A total of 18 Premier League games have been postponed in the past three weeks, including last-place Norwich’s trip to Leicester on Saturday.
Meanwhile in France, the Ligue 1 clash Angers and St-Etienne on has already been called doff due to a high number of coronavirus cases in the Angers squad.
Angers asked for the postponement on Thursday, saying there were 19 confirmed cases in their squad of 30.
Southampton P-P Newcastle United
Brentford v Aston Villa, 6pm
Everton v Brighton & Hove Albion, 6pm
Leeds United v Burnley, 6pm
Chelsea v Liverpool, 8.30pm