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December 17, 2021

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Brentford’s Frank urges EPL halt

Brentford manager Thomas Frank has urged the English Premier League to take a break and postpone all games in the coming week as rising numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to hit the game.

Brentford’s match against Manchester United on Tuesday was postponed after United’s training ground was closed due to an outbreak of positive cases and on Wednesday Burnley’s home match with Watford was called off after the visiting team had positive test results.

“The COVID cases are going through the roof at all Premier League clubs,” Frank told a news conference, where he said the club had 13 cases. “Everyone is dealing with it and everyone has a problem at this moment in time.

“To postpone this round (of Premier League games) and the Carabao Cup (League Cup) would give everyone a week at least to clean and do everything at the training ground so everything is fine and we break the chain at every club,” added the Danish coach.

Brentford is scheduled to play at Southampton on Saturday and then take on Chelsea in the League Cup on Wednesday.

“We want to carry on but this way we can have Boxing Day going no problem, 100 percent sure of that,” said Frank. “We think that would be very sensible to do that. The club have been in regular contact with the Premier League over the last couple of days.”

The EPL’s policy is to address postponements on a case-by-case basis.

Top sports cardiologist Sanjay Sharma, who is chair of the Football Association’s cardiac committee, has also called for increased vaccination among players, warning that the league could “crash.”

The EPL last released data on vaccination levels of players in mid-October saying 81 percent of players had received at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose with 68 percent double vaccinated.

“Apparently sensible football players say ‘I don’t want to be vaccinated’. They might become ill and you’ve just seen so many clubs are crippled and games postponed. There is a massive knock-on effect,” he told the Daily Mail.

“So apart from a societal responsibility, you’ve got a responsibility to the league. If people are getting infected left, right and center, the Premier League will crash as well,” he added.

Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said he is happy with his squad and has options to cover for the absence of key players during the Africa Cup of Nations.

The 24-team event will take place in Cameroon on January 9- February 6 and Liverpool is set to lose Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Guinea’s Naby Keita for several weeks.

Salah has scored 21 goals in all competitions for Liverpool, while Mane and Keita are also key members of the side.

“I am happy with the squad and we still have options,” Klopp told reporters on Wednesday. “We knew three would be qualified and be there and we knew that at least two of them will go pretty far in the tournament.

“Can you be prepared for something like that, properly, perfectly? Like a one-for-one replacement for Sadio, a replacement for Mo, one replacement for Naby? That’s tricky in each situation.

“We are quite confident we will find solutions.”

Klopp added that while Liverpool might not be able to play the same way without the trio it would adapt its game plan to suit the line-up.

“Whoever will play in a period when the three boys are not here will have a plan and gives us the chance to win a football game,” Klopp said.

Second-placed Liverpool, which trails Manchester City by four points, was hosting Newcastle United later yesterday.


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