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.
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.’
Aston Villa can confirm that the Club has closed its Bodymoor Heath training ground after a significant Coronavirus outbreak.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) January 7, 2021
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:
We would like to send our best wishes to all those affected at Shrewsbury.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) January 7, 2021