Liverpool clash in danger? Aston Villa confirm training ground closure following ‘significant’ Covid outbreak

Aston Villa have this afternoon confirmed a ‘significant’ Covid-19 outbreak at the club, just 24 hours prior to the club’s scheduled meeting with Liverpool.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: Anwar El Ghazi of Aston Villa scores a penalty for his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa at Molineux on December 12, 2020 in Wolverhampton, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

‘Discussions ongoing’

The Villans and Reds are due to get their respective FA Cup campaigns underway on Friday.

As the heavyweights of English football take their place in the 3rd-round of the country’s oldest cup competition, Villa and Liverpool have been pitted against one another, in one of three all-Premier League ties.

Elsewhere, Wolves will play host to Crystal Palace, before Arsenal and Newcastle go head to head on Saturday.

Liverpool clash in danger? Aston Villa confirm training ground closure following ‘significant’ Covid outbreak

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta celebrates with the trophy after winning the Heads Up FA Cup final match at Wembley Stadium, London. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

As outlined above, however, if the latest word stemming from Villa Park on Thursday is anything to go by, then Dean Smith’s squad may be in no condition to take to the pitch tomorrow night.

This comes on the back of a major outbreak of Covid-19 at the club.

In a post across the Claret and Blue’s social media platforms a short time ago, it was confirmed that ‘a large number’ of individuals, from both the playing and backroom staff, had returned positive coronavirus tests.

In turn, Villa’s training ground has been closed with immediate effect, as those affected enter a mandatory period of self isolation:

‘Aston Villa can confirm that the Club has closed its Bodymoor Heath training ground after a significant Coronavirus outbreak.’

‘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.’

It now remains to be seen whether Friday’s planned clash at Villa Park will be given the green light to go ahead, with the statement in question having concluded that:

‘Discussions are ongoing between medical representatives of the Club, the Football Association and the Premier League.’

Saints to sit out

News of the concerning situation in Aston comes just hours after another of the FA Cup’s 3rd-round ties involving a Premier League club was postponed.

The fixture in question, which was due to see Southampton welcome Shrewsbury Town to St. Mary’s on Saturday, was officially called off this afternoon, on the back of a coronavirus spread amid the latter’s ranks:

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Liverpool FC 17 16 33
2 Manchester United FC 16 9 33
3 Leicester City FC 17 10 32
4 Tottenham Hotspur FC 16 14 29
5 Manchester City FC 15 11 29
6 Southampton FC 17 7 29
7 Everton FC 16 6 29
8 Aston Villa FC 15 13 26
9 Chelsea FC 17 11 26
10 West Ham United FC 17 3 26
11 Arsenal FC 17 1 23
12 Leeds United 17 -3 23
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 17 -6 22
14 Crystal Palace FC 17 -7 22
15 Newcastle United FC 16 -8 19
16 Burnley FC 15 -11 16
17 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 17 -7 14
18 Fulham FC 15 -10 11
19 West Bromwich Albion 17 -28 8
20 Sheffield United FC 17 -21 2
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 13
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 12
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 11
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 11
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 11
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 10
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 10
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 8
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 8
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 7
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 7
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 7
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 6
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 6
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 6
Abraham, Tammy Chelsea FC 6
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 5
Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 5
Barnes, Harvey Leicester City FC 5
Soucek, Tomas West Ham United FC 5

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