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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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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# Team MP D P
1 Manchester United FC 17 10 36
2 Leicester City FC 18 12 35
3 Liverpool FC 17 16 33
4 Tottenham Hotspur FC 18 16 33
5 Manchester City FC 16 12 32
6 Everton FC 17 7 32
7 Chelsea FC 18 12 29
8 Southampton FC 18 5 29
9 West Ham United FC 18 4 29
10 Aston Villa FC 15 13 26
11 Arsenal FC 18 1 24
12 Leeds United 18 -4 23
13 Crystal Palace FC 18 -7 23
14 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 19 -8 22
15 Newcastle United FC 17 -9 19
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18 Fulham FC 17 -11 12
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