Emerald journals operate article-level publishing (ALP), whereby articles are processed for EarlyCite publication immediately following acceptance. The citation date therefore relates to the date on which the article was published and has no bearing on the date that it was assigned to the journal issue itself. 

EarlyCite articles are later compiled into the next available journal issue based on date of copyright assignment. The date that appears at the bottom of the first page in the PDF is updated to include the date that the issue was published, but the citation date remains the same as the ALP date.

In this example, the article was assigned to the first issue of volume 9 of the journal and the volume began in 2020:

However, the Earlycite article was published in 2019 and is also the year that copyright was assigned, and that is therefore the date for citation: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/IJLLS-11-2018-0084/full/html 

If the citation includes 'Ahead of Print' in the details, this means that the article has been published as Earlycite and has yet to be assigned to a journal issue:

In this instance, you should cite the article without the Vol and Issue details.

If you require any additional information, please contact  Emerald Customer Support.