Aston Villa have been forced to close their training ground due to an outbreak of Covid-19 cases - plunging their FA Cup third round clash with Liverpool on Friday night into doubt.

A number of Villa first-team players and staff were diagnosed with coronavirus earlier this week after being routinely tested on Monday, before further testing produced more positive results on Thursday.

The West Midlands outfit have therefore shut their Bodymoor Heath training complex and called off their first team’s session before Friday’s showdown with Liverpool.

Club medics are now in dialogue with the football authorities to decide what course to take.

Aston Villa have been forced to close their training ground due to an outbreak of Covid-19 cases

If Villa do not have enough players to fulfil the fixture, their third-round tie against Liverpool will have to be rearranged before the fourth round gets underway on January 23.

However, the Reds have a crunch clash with Manchester United in store on January 17 before Burnley visit Anfield on January 21.

Their FA Cup third round clash with Liverpool on Friday night is therefore in serious doubt

And Villa are due to play league games against Tottenham, Everton and Manchester City from January 13-20.

Certain reports suggest that if postponed matches cannot be rearranged before the fourth round, the club affected by a Covid-19 outbreak will be forced to forfeit and hand their opponent a bye.

Should the tie be postponed, Villa may be forced to hand the Reds a bye into the fourth round if they cannot rearrange it before January 23
Should the tie be postponed, Villa may be forced to hand the Reds a bye into the fourth round if they cannot rearrange it before January 23

Yet according to Sky Sports, no team will be obliged to automatically forfeit a match if they are hit by coronavirus, with each case instead set to be assessed by the FA on its individual circumstances.

Villa are not the only side dealing with a Covid-19 outbreak, as Manchester City have confirmed another three positive tests ahead of their third-round meeting with Birmingham on Sunday.

Get the latest transfer news straight into your inbox!

Want to be on the ball with all of the latest football news?

Well then sign up for the brilliant new Daily Star Sport email newsletter!

From the latest transfer news to the agenda-setting stories, get it all in your email inbox.

How do you sign up?

It only takes a matter of seconds.

Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article and hit 'subscribe'.

And that's it, job done. You'll receive an email with all of the top news stories every single morning.

You can find out more information on our email newsletter on this link here.

City were forced to postpone their Premier League trip to Everton at the end of December when five members of their playing and coaching squad returned positive tests.

On Tuesday the English top flight confirmed a season-high return of 40 positive coronavirus cases in the latest week of testing.