Aston Villa’s FA Cup tie with Liverpool on Friday has been plunged into doubt after Villa’s first-team squad was forced into self-isolation by a Covid outbreak at the club.
“A large number of first-team players and staff returned positive tests after being routinely tested on Monday and immediately went into isolation,” the club said in a statement. “A second round of testing was carried out immediately and produced more positive results today.”
The team have not trained since Tuesday, when the results of Monday’s tests emerged. “Discussions are ongoing between medical representatives of the club, the Football Association and the Premier League,” Villa said.
Dean Smith was due to attend an online press conference on Thursday afternoon to preview the match against Liverpool but that has been delayed pending the outcome of the talks with the authorities.
It is not known whether Villa will be able to field youth players against Liverpool, as Derby County intend to do against Chorley following an outbreak at their club. Southampton, meanwhile, could be awarded a walkover against Shrewsbury Town as a result of a high number of cases at the Shropshire club which means the tie will not take place on Saturday.