ARSENAL 0-2 LIVERPOOL : MATCH REVIEW
Liverpool powered to a 2-0 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates stadium last night to book their place in the Carabao Cup final. A frantic game was settled by two Diogo Jota strikes. Here’s a review of the game.
You can find player ratings from the match here:
° Lineup. There were two changes from the team that beat Brentford, with Kelleher coming in for Alisson and Kaide Gordon replacing the injured Oxlade-Chamberlain. They were two huge decisions by the manager, with his faith in Gordon particularly bold.
° Quick Arsenal start. Infront of a baying home crowd, Arteta’s men went for it from kickoff. They harried and pressed and attacked with verve. They tried to isolate Martinelli against Trent early on and got some joy in the first ten minutes.
° Kelleher save. Arsenal’s early flurry saw them go close from a Lacazette free kick which Kelleher did magnificently well to tip onto the bar. If that had gone in, it would have made for a completely different game. That was the closest Arsenal came all night as the Reds weathered the early storm.
° Turning the tide. Joel Matip tapped home Fabinho’s header from a corner in the 12th minute but the flag went up for offside. That was a little warning and reminder of how ruthless these Reds can be. It’s not a warning Arsenal heeded as Diogo Jota broke the deadlock a few minutes later.
° Jota opener. A pass was wrapped into Firmino’s feet and the Brazilian flicked it past Gabriel who had tracked him into midfield. Trent had intelligently sneaked into the half space to receive the pass, he then funnelled it out wide to Jota on the left wing.
Jota then did the rest, cutting inside of Tomiyasu and then breezing past White and Tierney before sending his shot trickling past Ramsdale. It was against the run of play as that was the Reds’ first meaningful attack of the game. A bit of Jota magic had opened up the tie.
° Dazzling Curtis. Curtis Jones has returned to the side this month and slotted in straightaway. He’s been key in the past few games as his excellent ball retention aids the side in keeping possession in the face of a fierce press. He showed some lovely feet in tight positions last night.
He enjoyed the most touches (63) of the midfielders, with his passing accuracy of 91% the joint highest in the whole side. He also won the most fouls (3), made the second most clearances (3) and created the joint second most chances (2) in the game. It was a such a matured performance from the 20 year old.
° Eye opening night for Gordon. The 17 year old was thrust into the side for what was the biggest game of his young career so far. Gordon struggled to get in the game in an attacking sense, with his slight build seeing him lose 8 of his 10 duels. His best work came in the defensive third however.
His appreciation for when to press high and when to drop deep and back up Trent against Martinelli and the overlapping Tierney, was particularly impressive. Yes he should have done better when Jota picked him out in the box but last night offered him a wealth of experience that training can’t replicate.
° Fabinho shines. It was another excellent display by the Brazilian as he mopped up danger infront of the defence and also broke forward in attack when required. His perfectly timed challenge in the box on Martinelli was a snapshot of the protection he offers the side.
Fabinho won the most tackles (4), the second most duels (8) whilst attempting the most shots (3). He was immense as he cut out almost every attempt at a counter attack late on. When he’s on it, the Reds look impenetrable.
Jota seals it. Liverpool had chances to make the game safe in the second half, with Gordon, Minamino and Robertson all going close. When Trent clipped a sensational pass over the defence to Jota, the Portuguese international was not going to pass it up.
He took it on his chest whilst speeding away from White, and then had the composure to clip it over the onrushing Ramsdale. Two shots, two goals. Define lethal. In Mané and Salah’s absence, we needed someone to step up and send us through to the final and Jota obliged with aplomb.
° T🅰️🅰️. Trent was given a thorough examination early on by Martinelli but rode that storm well to decide the game. Another brace of assists, with the second particularly sublime. It could have been more too with Konaté heading his corner against the post and Gordon failing to get on the end of another teasing cross.
° Complete control. With Fabinho and Jones in top form, backed up by Henderson doing a lot of hard running, Liverpool maintained a vice like grip on proceedings. They kept Arsenal at arm’s length, with the Gunners unable to trouble Kelleher in goal for large parts of the encounter.
° Digging deep. As the clock ticked past 75 minutes, you could see legs visibly tire. Firmino and Henderson were given a well earned breather late on and it’s credit to the side that they dug deep against opponents who were fresher than them owing to the postponement of their weekend clash.
° Through to the final. This will be a record 13th League Cup final for Liverpool, with the aim being clinching the trophy for a record 9th time. Chelsea await on 27th February at Wembley as the two disappointed teams in the Premier League title race get a shot at silverware.
° What’s next? Another trip to London on Sunday, this time to take on Patrick Vieira’s impressive Crystal Palace outfit. With the energy expanded in midweek it’ll take some effort to go and claim all three points. There’s a lack of options to rotate due to a combination of injuries and AFCON.
The Reds must go again though, no excuses. If they want to keep their faint hopes of the title alive, they can’t afford to drop any more points. The gaffer could do with Oxlade-Chamberlain being passed fit in time for the trip.
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