ARSENAL VS LIVERPOOL: PREVIEW
Liverpool travel to London for the second leg of their League Cup semi final against Arsenal on Thursday. After a frustrating goalless draw at Anfield last week, the Reds have to go to the Emirates and win to seal a place in the final against Chelsea. We preview the clash.
Jürgen Klopp’s side put that goalless draw behind them to beat Brentford 3-0 at Anfield on Sunday. They showed they could break down a parked bus, with Brentford defending in numbers for large parts of the game.
That should serve as a confidence boost ahead of this trip to the Emirates. Goals from Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Minamino gave the Reds the comfortable victory. It keeps the side in good form and rhythm ahead of the second leg.
Arsenal on the other hand got their North London derby against Spurs postponed due to supposedly not having enough fit players to fulfil the fixture. There was concern earlier today that this game could also be postponed.
That has however been assuaged by a report from the Liverpool Echo. They report that ”Arsenal are increasingly confident their Carabao Cup semi-final second leg with Liverpool will go ahead on Thursday.”
“Martin Odegaard is likely to feature after missing last week’s first leg due to a positive COVID test while Kieran Tierney, Calum Chambers, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel – who all played in the match – are expected to be fit.”
“Granit Xhaka will miss Thursday’s game through suspension having been sent off in the first leg, while Arsenal have agreed to loan Pablo Mari to Udinese until the end of the season”, as per @LivEchoLFC.
With no free midweeks between now and the scheduled date for the final, this is the most sensible outcome. Both sides will be missing key players and it’s best they both just get on with it. Arsenal will fancy their chances after the backs to the wall defensive resilience they showed at Anfield.
I personally didn’t think Arsenal were that great defensively on the night. It wasn’t like there were last ditch blocks and tackles and clearances off the line. It was more a case of Liverpool playing poorly in the final third. Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale made a number of errors but got away with it.
From smashing a clearance straight at Henderson to dropping crosses after colliding with teammates, Ramsdale lived a charmed life at Anfield. Gabriel also looked nervy with a backpass straight out for a corner being a particular highlight.
That the Reds failed to manage a shot on target till injury time is more down to a lack of proactivity from the Liverpool bench and a collective off night by key players. The two full backs in particular were shocking.
The win over Brentford saw both of them roar back into form with an assist each. The tie is perfectly poised. A winner takes all scenario which presents a straight shootout between the sides. That might suit Liverpool as Arsenal will definitely open up and leave more spaces behind.
Liverpool have suffered just one defeat in their last six trips to the Emirates, with that 2-1 defeat coming after the Reds had already sealed the Premier League title in 2019/20. They’ve won two of the last six away at Arsenal and will hold no fear going into Thursday night.
For Liverpool, there’s no news yet on the severity of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s ankle injury picked up on Sunday. Harvey Elliott joined team training today after his own lengthy absence but this game is surely too soon for him to make his comeback. Aside that, it’s the same squad that’s been available for the last two games.
For Arsenal, Odegaard is expected back, as are Tierney, Chambers and Saka. Granit Xhaka will miss the game through suspension after picking up a red card in the first leg. Thomas Partey’s Ghana has been eliminated from the AFCON tournament but it’s unlikely he’ll be back in time.
The 23 year looked way beyond his usual levels against Arsenal. Having returned to somewhere close to his best against Brentford, he’ll want to push his team on to the final. He has never played in a League Cup final, that alone should be more than enough motivation.
The 20 year old was probably the best player on the pitch in the first leg. He carried a threat on the counter and gave Robertson endless problems. He’s netted 4 goals and provided 3 assists in his last 7 appearances. Having shaken off the knock he picked up, he’ll be looking to pick up right where he left off.
The Portuguese international has been quiet in the last two games. He’s played on the right wing and on the left as he tries to find a space in the team alongside Roberto Firmino. He’s not scored in any of his last four games which is unlike him. If he can find his best form, the Reds’ chances of going through increase.
5 thoughts on “ARSENAL VS LIVERPOOL: PREVIEW”
Great to see Elliot back to the squad, unfortunately the Arsenal game is too soon for him, I believe he’d actually give it a try if called upon, he oozes of confidence.
Arsenal would like to use the home advantage and all the fire power at their disposal.
Klopp should not take this match likely after the poor performance at the first leg.
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Elliott may make the bench against Palace at the weekend. He’s been out for a while, they will not rush him
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The boys were brilliant and tactical enough to silence the gunners
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True, only time they troubled Kelleher was the Lacazette free kick early on.