A record 103 positive Covid-19 cases were found among players and staff in the English Premier League (EPL) over the past week, the league said on Monday following a raft of fixture postponements during the busy festive period.
“The League can today confirm that between Monday 20 December and Sunday 26 December, 15 186 Covid-19 tests were administered on players and club staff. Of these, there were 103 new positive cases,” the league said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and his Leicester counterpart Brendan Rodgers joined forces to slam the festive fixture schedule ahead of their clubs’ Premier League clash on Tuesday.
Klopp believes teams should not be made to play on both 26 December and 28 December.
Liverpool were spared the burden of having to play twice in three days when Leeds’ visit to Anfield on Boxing Day was called off following a Covid-19 outbreak and injuries within Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
The Reds head to Leicester with Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk, Thiago Alcantara and Curtis Jones all available again after their positive coronavirus tests.
But Klopp, who has repeatedly spoken out against the Christmas programme, insisted the Leeds and Leicester games being originally slated for 26 and 28 December was unacceptable.
“The situation should not be like this and we can discuss this every year,” he told reporters on Monday.
“It’s tradition and we want to play on Boxing Day, we could have played on Boxing Day and that would have been no problem at all.
“But playing on the 26th and the 28th is just not right, I just say that because it’s true and I think we can find solutions for that.
“It’s not that difficult to play football in a slightly different way. The 26th and the 29th, where’s the problem?”
Rodgers agreed with Klopp’s criticism, saying it is ridiculous that Leicester will return to action little more than 48 hours after their 6-3 defeat at Manchester City.
To compound matters for Rodgers, Leicester are without a host of players for the clash with his former club.
Ryan Bertrand, Ricardo Pereira, Caglar Soyuncu and Patson Daka are all sidelined, while Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi were not risked off the bench against City due to hamstring problems.
“It’s a ridiculous schedule, we all know that,” Rodgers said.
“Players aren’t fully recovered for 72 hours after a game, so for us to be playing on a Tuesday against Liverpool is ridiculous.
“It’s a very quick turnaround. To play Man City and Liverpool in quick succession over this period is a big challenge, especially with the squads that they have.”