Morning all.

Liverpool have asked the EFL to postpone our fixture against them tomorrow evening. However, there are rules which state that clubs must have less than 14 players available – including a goalkeeper – from their registered first-team squad. Players under the age of 21, who are not on their side’s first-team squad list, but have played at least one league match this season, may be counted in the 14.

Therefore, Curtis Jones, Tyler Morton and Neco Williams should be included in calculations. Harvey Elliott too but he’s still injured. The same rule also applies to any other contracted senior player at the club who is not on the squad list.

There are many other rules, but this one is key in my opinion:

  • 5.1.3 any other requirements or directions of the UK Government and/or by any public authority, then the Management Committee shall use its reasonable endeavours to rearrange the fixture for the earliest reasonable opportunity (including but not limited to arranging for the Competition Match to be played at a neutral venue) which will not be later than the date of the first Competition Match scheduled to take place in the immediately following round.
  • “Where the Management Committee determine that the Competition Match cannot be rearranged the Management Committee shall have the power to declare that the Competition Match shall be abandoned. Where the Management Committee declare that the Competition Match shall be abandoned, the Club shall forfeit the Competition Match, pay the opposing Club’s expenses in accordance with Rule 5.8 and the opposing Club shall receive a bye into the next round of the Competition.”

What constitutes ‘next round’ I wonder when there is a two-legged tie? Surely, that has to be next week’s fixture at Anfield, otherwise the whole draw process has been a waste of time as Arsenal are supposed to be playing the home leg first. I do think it makes a difference too because of the away goals rule.

I hope the EFL are honest with their decision making here and if Liverpool have more than the minimum number of players required, regardless of what age they are, they are told to play tomorrow night.

Right from the semi-final draw date, Klopp has complained about this being a two legged tie, he even suggested Liverpool would be willing to play at The Emirates if it meant reducing it to one fixture so now, he might get his wish. The cynic in me believes this has been planned all along, although I’d like to think the EFL will require evidence to support the Liverpool numbers of Covid cases. Shutting their training ground means nothing really, after all, Arsenal did that too so they could clean the place but we didn’t hear Mikel Arteta moaning.

Transfer gossip:

Arsenal are ready to grant Ainsley Maitland-Niles his wish of joining Roma with a loan deal agreed in principle, according to the Daily Mail.

The Sun reports Brighton and Crystal Palace remain keen on Eddie Nketiah – and would like to sign him in this window if possible.

How exciting.

See you in the comments.