Aston Villa have confirmed that their FA Cup third-round clash against Liverpool WILL go ahead as scheduled tonight.

A coronavirus outbreak has swept through Villa’s senior squad this week which put the tie in serious jeopardy of taking place.

Villa Park will host Friday’s FA Cup third-round clash – and full commentary of the match is LIVE on talkSPORT

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Villa Park will host Friday’s FA Cup third-round clash – and full commentary of the match is LIVE on talkSPORT

And after further testing this morning, it has now been confirmed the match is on.

In a statement, Aston Villa said: “Aston Villa can confirm that the #EmiratesFACup Third Round tie with Liverpool will be played at Villa Park this evening (7.45pm KO).”

The Villa side is expected to be made up entirely of Under-18 and Under-23 players, with no first-team players to take part.

Meanwhile, manager Dean Smith will not manage the side for the match – which is LIVE on talkSPORT.

Assistants John Terry, Craig Shakespeare and Richard O’Kelly will also not be in attendance, with no individual in the senior bubble involved.

Under-23s coach Mark Delaney, who played for Villa between 1999 and 2007, will take charge of the side against Jurgen Klopp’s reigning Premier League champions – whom Villa beat 7-2 earlier this season.

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The youngsters train in a different area to the first team at Bodymoor Heath so have not come into contact with them.

Defender Jake Walker has been recalled from his loan at Alvechurch, who play in the Southern League Premier Division Central, to underline the numbers and players Villa need on Friday.

Villa were forced to shut the training ground on Thursday after confirming a large number of players and staff had contracted COVID-19.

The club, Football Association and Premier League held talks on Thursday and confirmed they were trying to get the game on.

Mark Bosnich claims Aston Villa are top-four contenders and their players and staff will believe they can beat anybody after beating Premier League champions Liverpool 7-2

The FA said in a statement on Twitter: “The @FA and @AVFCOfficial are working closely together to try to ensure that the club’s #EmiratesFACup third round tie with @LFC can go ahead as planned at Villa Park tomorrow evening.

“Final confirmation will be made tomorrow pending the results of additional Covid-19 testing.”

Derby have also made the decision to take their youth team to Chorley for their FA Cup tie on Saturday after significant cases within their first-team bubble, but Shrewsbury’s game at Southampton is off after an outbreak at the Sky Bet League One club.

Although in extremely different circumstances, the game has similarities to last season’s Carabao Cup quarter-final between the teams in December 2019.

Liverpool put out a youth side after their senior squad travelled to Doha for the Club World Cup and Villa won 5-0.

talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 bring you NINE FA Cup third-round commentaries this weekend, starting with exclusive national radio commentary of Aston Villa vs Liverpool on Friday


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