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

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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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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Premier League table
# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City FC 32 44 74
2 Manchester United FC 31 27 63
3 Leicester City FC 31 18 56
4 West Ham United FC 31 12 55
5 Chelsea FC 31 19 54
6 Liverpool FC 31 16 52
7 Tottenham Hotspur FC 31 17 49
8 Everton FC 30 3 48
9 Arsenal FC 31 8 45
10 Leeds United 31 0 45
11 Aston Villa FC 30 10 44
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 31 -10 38
13 Crystal Palace FC 31 -19 38
14 Southampton FC 31 -17 36
15 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 31 -5 33
16 Burnley FC 31 -17 33
17 Newcastle United FC 31 -19 32
18 Fulham FC 32 -18 26
19 West Bromwich Albion 31 -31 24
20 Sheffield United FC 31 -38 14
Premier League 20/21
Topscorers
Disciplinary
Assists
Player Team Goals
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 19
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 19
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 16
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 14
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 14
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 14
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 13
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 12
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 12
Gundogan, Ilkay Manchester City FC 12
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 10
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 10
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City FC 9
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 9
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City FC 9
Barnes, Harvey Leicester City FC 9
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 9
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 9
Soucek, Tomas West Ham United FC 9
Pereira, Matheus West Bromwich Albion 8