Fans accuse EFL of showing 'big club bias' to Liverpool amid cup call

‘Interesting when we were in the same position last season!’: Leyton Orient keeper Lawrence Vigouroux joins hoards of fans questioning the postponement of Liverpool v Arsenal in the Carabao Cup, as supporters blast a supposed ‘big club bias’

  • Liverpool’s Carabao Cup semi-final tie with Arsenal has been postponed 
  • The Reds have closed their training ground after further positive cases 
  • Fans raged on social media for showing ‘big club bias’ to Jurgen Klopp’s Reds 
  • A tweet by Aston Villa has also provoked a debate about double standards
  • Last season, Villa were forced by Covid to field a young side against Liverpool 
  • Leyton Orient had to forfeit their FA Cup tie due to an outbreak of the virus 

Fans on social media raged at the EFL for showing ‘big club bias’ to Liverpool after their Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg at Arsenal was postponed due to a Covid outbreak.

The Reds put in a request to delay Thursday night’s trip to London after they had to close down their Kirkby training centre after the outbreak, with the first-leg delayed by two weeks – though Liverpool will relinquish the second-leg advantage at Anfield. 

Supporters raged at the decision to postpone and used examples of Leyton Orient having to forfeit their FA Cup clash with Tottenham last season due to an outbreak, while Aston Villa played a team of Under-18s players for their tie with Liverpool in the same month. 

Fans on social media slammed the EFL for showing ‘big club bias’ to Liverpool by postponing their Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg with Arsenal

The Reds’ last four first-leg clash has been postponed by two weeks due to a Covid outbreak

Even though the EFL rules, which were changed for this season, clearly state the match should be postponed unless a date cannot be found to replay the game, supporters still took to Twitter to show their anger at the call. 

Leyton Orient goalkeeper Lawrence Vigoroux tweeted: ‘Interesting when we were in the same position before a Carabao Cup tie against Spurs last season?’  

Meanwhile, another fan tweeted: ‘This is an absolute disgrace. Chelsea and Brentford forced to play depleted squads, Leyton Orient kicked out the competition but the media golden boys get what they want.’

Another said: ‘Yet Aston Villa were forced to play their u18’s against Liverpool and Leyton Orient were forced to forfeit their game against Spurs, both in the same competition… one rule for the ‘big 6’ and one rule for the rest of the country.’

Fans on social media fumed that Liverpool were reprieved of playing while other teams had to

One fan asked: ‘So how is it ok for the “Big Clubs” to postpone games, while having HUGE squads, but non Prem teams have to play, even with Youth team players. #stinks This is why Non League football are getting larger crowds now #ilkestonfc’

Making reference to the fact that Liverpool have now lost attackers Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah to the Africa Cup of Nations, one Arsenal fan claimed: ‘Liverpool are about to ask for all football to be suspended until after AFCON’

Another Arsenal fan added: ‘If Liverpool go on to win the Carabao Cup this season it needs to have a massive asterisx next to it, just like their league title. Integrity of this tournament has gone.’

Over the past week, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, his assistant Pep Lijnders and several players have gone into isolation after positive tests. 

As things stand, the Reds are without the isolating Joel Matip, Roberto Firmino and Alisson Becker, who tested positive ahead of last weekend’s trip to Chelsea; Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, Harvey Elliott and Thiago Alcantara are injured, while Mane, Salah and Naby Keita are at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Fans made a reference to Aston Villa playing a team full of kids against Liverpool due to Covid 

Leyton Orient also had to forfeit their FA Cup tie against Tottenham last season due to Covid

There are, however, other fitness concerns within the squad plus more suspected positive Covid-19 cases and, for that reason, Liverpool made their approach to the EFL on Tuesday night to have the game postponed.  

Earlier on Wednesday, Aston Villa appeared to troll Liverpool with an immaculately-timed tweet about having little choice but to field a weakened side.

Their official Twitter account posted a picture of the very youthful Villa side sent out to face Liverpool in the FA Cup third round last season after a Covid-19 outbreak at the training ground wiped out their entire first-team squad.

Sixteen debuts were handed out that day with Villa fielding a starting line-up with seven under-23 players and four from the under-18s. Five others came off the bench to make debuts.

Aston Villa posted a tweet referencing the youthful team featuring 16 debutants that played against Liverpool in the FA Cup third round last season amid a Covid outbreak at the club

The timing was perfect given Liverpool have succeeded in getting Thursday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg tie with Arsenal postponed after a Covid outbreak of their own

Remarkably, the tie last January was level at half-time after 17-year-old Louie Barry cancelled out Sadio Mane’s early goal before Liverpool’s full-strength team went on to win 4-1.

The Twitter post comes as Liverpool succeeded in getting Thursday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg tie with Arsenal postponed following a Covid outbreak.

The Football Association made clear at the time that any club capable of mustering 14 players would be expected to fulfil the tie or forfeit their place amid a congested fixture schedule.  

Even though, as Sportsmail understands, it was not an attempt to poke fun at the Reds, Villa fans were quick to accuse the Anfield club of double standards in the comments given their team were given little choice but to use any available players to fulfil the match last year. 

17-year-old Louie Barry equalised for the young Villa side before Liverpool went on to win

Liverpool have had to shut down their Kirkby training centre with Covid rapidly spreading

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders tested positive for Covid as their outbreak worsens


Football fans on Twitter were quick to appreciate the perfect timing of Villa’s tweet

However, as plenty of Liverpool fans pointed out, they themselves were left with little choice but to play a weakened team at Villa Park when the sides met in the 2019-20 Carabao Cup quarter-finals.

The game was played the day before Liverpool’s FIFA Club World Cup semi-final and most first-choice players had already flown to Qatar. Liverpool lost 5-0 to Villa.

Villa, who are managed by Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard, travel to Manchester United on Monday night for their FA Cup third round tie.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are scheduled to host League One side Shrewsbury Town on Sunday but the Covid outbreak must surely also place that game in doubt.

In 2019, a young Liverpool team was forced to take on Villa in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals with the regulars in Qatar for the FIFA Club World Cup

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