The club confirmed a ‘large number of first-team players and staff’ returned positive cases in the first round of routine testing on Monday and then even more positive results were produced among the squad in further tests on Tuesday.
Dean Smith’s pre-match press conference was delayed from 2pm as the club were in talks with the FA and Premier League over whether the fixture could go ahead, and the training ground has been closed.
Aston Villa have closed their training ground after a significant Covid outbreak at the club
The club confirmed a high number of players and staff tested positive ahead of Liverpool tie
A Villa statement said: ‘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 Friday’s s FA Cup match with Liverpool was cancelled.
Talks are being held whether or not Jurgen Klopp’s men will be able to face Villa on Friday
Derby County interim manager Wayne Rooney and his first team players will miss Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie against non-league Chorley amid a Covid-19 outbreak
Curtis Davies questioned if Villa will be made to play the tie with a depleted squad like Derby
‘Discussions are ongoing between medical representatives of the Club, the Football Association and the Premier League.’
FA Cup ties impacted by Covid outbreaks
Chorley vs Derby
– Interim boss Wayne Rooney and the entire Derby first team squad will miss the third-round tie. The Championship side are set to field youth players so they don’t have to forfeit their place.
Southampton vs Shrewsbury
– The game was postponed after the League One club recorded 10 positive cases. Shrewsbury hope the match can be rescheduled with FA officials set to meet next week to decide.
Brentford vs Middlesbrough
The third-round game at Brentford was plunged into doubt after Boro reported a number of positive tests. Their Rockliffe Park training headquarters have been shut since Monday, with further results expected on the weekend after tests on Thursday.
Aston Villa vs Liverpool
Discussions are ongoing between medical representatives at Villa, the Football Association and the Premier League whether the match can go ahead after an outbreak in the Villa squad.
The match is the third tie of the third round to be affected. Derby will face Chorley on Saturday with a mixture of Under-23 and Under-18 players as interim-manager Wayne Rooney and a number of first-team players and staff are isolating after a Covid outbreak at the club.
Derby defender Curtis Davies questioned whether Villa will be made to play the tie with a depleted squad like the Championship side are having to do this weekend.
In response to Gary Lineker on Twitter, Davies wrote: ‘Interested to see if Aston Villa will have to play their kids like us at Derby.’
Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie between Southampton and Shrewsbury, meanwhile, has been called off after a significant number of Shrews players and staff tested positive for coronavirus.
The League One club do not have enough fit, non-isolating players to play the game at St Mary’s. The FA’s professional game board will decide what will happen with the fixture ‘early next week’.
FA rules state that clubs will be expected to fulfil their fixtures if they can muster 14 players, though there is scope for individual clubs to appeal if they feel they cannot do so. The FA could reject any appeal from Villa and effectively give Liverpool a bye to the fourth round.
The game was also scheduled for live television coverage on BT Sport.
When Villa took on Liverpool in the Carabao Cup last season, the champions used a team of fringe and Under-23 players as the first-team squad and manager Jurgen Klopp were in Qatar competing in the World Club Cup. Villa won the match 5-0.
Villa’s next two Premier League fixtures are scheduled to be at home to Tottenham on January 13 and Everton on January 16.
Earlier in the season, Newcastle suffered a Covid outbreak that led to the postponement of their fixture at Villa on December 4. Since then, Manchester City’s match at Everton – scheduled for December 28 – was called off, as were Fulham’s fixtures at Tottenham and Burnley.
Southampton’s tie has already been postponed after opponents Shrewsbury’s Covid outbreak
Liverpool fielded fringe and youth players in Carabao Cup at Villa last season as the first-team squad and manager Jurgen Klopp were in Qatar competing in the World Club Cup