Germany has banned most travellers from countries that have been hit by the COVID-19 strain, including England and there has been no exception made for football players.
This means that Liverpool will not be able to travel to East German club RB Leipzig to play the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie on 16th February 2021.
A German interior ministry statement said Bundesliga club RB Leipzig had been told that the fixture “does not meet the requirements for an exception”.
The UEFA has announced that it has been in touch with both the clubs to figure out a way around the tie. Europe’s regulatory body updated its regulations around the knockout stages given the COVID-19 pandemic, which states that if restrictions imposed in a country around travel due to the pandemic could result in a match not taking place then “the home club must propose a suitable venue, which may be in a neutral country”.
However, if Leipzig fails to arrange for a neutral venue then UEFA would deem the match to be forfeited, with the home team losing 3-0.
With Germany’s restrictions in place until 17 February, there is an option where the tie could be reversed with Liverpool hosting the first leg and the second leg is scheduled to take place on 10 March.
UEFA additionally mentioned that “In all cases, the venue of a match must be approved by the UEFA administration, which has the right to assign an alternative venue for any particular match or even to decide that either or both legs of the relevant round to be rescheduled and/or played in a neutral country (within the territory of a UEFA member association) and/or organised as a single-leg. These decisions are final.”
Liverpool has been going through a tumultuous patch and with all the injuries to their starting defenders, the first leg at home may not be something that they would really want.
The 6-time European Champions will want to turn things around after having lost 2 consecutive games at home after going 68 unbeaten before that as English League title number 20 seems a bit far off with Manchester City running away with it at the moment.