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Aston Villa clear to take on Liverpool with young players

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On Friday night, Aston Villa’s FA Cup third-round tie at home to Liverpool will go ahead with Villa cleared after a Covid outbreak to use players from their under-23s and youth squad.

After nine players and five staff members delivered promising results, Villa’s entire first-team squad and staff were pushed into exile. But tests on the younger players provided the club with ample negative results to field a team. Mark Delaney, the manager of the under-23s, will take over.

Villa said on Thursday that “a large number of positives” in the first team had contributed to the closing of their training ground.

Because of a coronavirus outbreak, Derby is scheduled to take on Chorley on Saturday without any first-team squad, and Shrewsbury’s game at Southampton will not take place later that day for similar reasons. A walkover may be awarded to the Premier League team.

The Villa outbreak raises concerns as to whether they should go ahead with their forthcoming Premier League matches. They are expected on Wednesday to face Tottenham and the following Saturday to face Everton.

After last week’s against Fulham, José Mourinho says it would be “impossible” for Tottenham to endure another postponement in the Premier League. The success of his team to the Carabao Cup final means that the reverse fixture against Fulham must also be changed.

Tottenham’s manager said, “I think it’s an impossible situation for a club to postpone three matches, particularly if that club plays in Europe.” It’s absolutely unlikely for the Europa League team to have three matches postponed, which is the only thing I can claim.

“It’s up to the Premier League to make decisions, we’ll have three matches postponed if we don’t play against Aston Villa, and that’s impossible because it’s going to need the Euros to move and that’s not going to happen.”

The EFL announced 112 positive tests this week from its strategic league-wide monitoring program involving 3,507 players and 66 clubs participating in this weekend’s FA Cup or league action.

Before their next league games, the six clubs that did not play would be checked. Almost a third of the positive tests based on three clubs are understood, with the rest of the clubs.

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