LONDON: The Premier League has postponed three Boxing Day matches – Liverpool v Leeds, Wolves v Watford and Burnley v Everton – because of coronavirus.

The first two were called off after requests from Leeds and Watford on Thursday. The Burnley-Everton game was postponed on Friday.

The Premier League said Leeds could not play “due to the number of players with Covid-19, injuries and illness”.

Everton boss Rafael Benitez said he was “surprised” his side’s game at Burnley was still on.

The Toffees last played on 16 December when they drew 1-1 with Chelsea, prior to their match on 19 December against Leicester City being postponed because of Covid-19 cases within the Foxes camp.

Premier League clubs, until early December, had managed to avoid any large-scale postponements before Tottenham’s Conference League tie with Rennes on December 9 was the first in a succession of matches over a 10-day period to fall foul of Covid-19 outbreaks.

A week after their first cancelled match, the number of postponements for the weekend of December 17-19 across England’s top four divisions had reached double figures by 3pm that Thursday.

The following week it was decided that Premier League and EFL fixtures would carry on for the Christmas period.