Aston Villa report ‘significant’ coronavirus outbreak on eve of Liverpool FA Cup tie

Aston Villa have reported a “significant” coronavirus outbreak on the eve of their FA Cup third round tie with Liverpool on Friday.

First-team training was cancelled on Thursday with the Bodymoor Heath complex now closed with “a large number” of players and staff said to be affected.

Villa are scheduled to play Liverpool at Villa Park on Friday night but the game going ahead as planned now appears to be in serious doubt. The FA said a decision would be made on Friday morning following additional testing.

A Villa statement read: “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.”

The club later added: “The Football Association and Aston Villa are working closely together to try to ensure that the club’s Third Round Proper fixture with Liverpool can go ahead as planned at Villa Park tomorrow evening.”