The chance of a trophy and a spot in the final are on the line tonight, as Liverpool head to Arsenal with the League Cup semi-final tantalisingly poised after a 0-0 draw in the first leg. The Gunners clung on for the clean sheet and had a late Takumi Minamino miss to thanks, after they went down to 10 men earlier in the match following Granit Xhaka’s red card.
It means there’s everything to play for on the night, with one of these two sides progressing to face Chelsea in the final at Wembley. Since the first leg, the Reds have been back in action and back to scoring form, putting three past Brentford at the weekend which included Japanese forward Minamino netting the final goal for a moment of redemption after his first-leg miss.
Arsenal, however, had their match against Tottenham postponed following injuries, loaning out of players and a Covid case, leading to criticism from some quarters. Boss Mikel Arteta is behind upcoming plans to change the rules: “There are some rules to play a football match and when you cannot fulfil those rules or numbers, the game is off. It’s as simple as that. We cannot do it and maintain doing the same thing whilst saying ‘yeah they have to be discussed’ because they have already been discussed. It is time to change them if everybody agrees that it is the best way to do it.” Follow all the latest updates as Arsenal face Liverpool below:
Arsenal vs Liverpool latest news
Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders believes many were ready to write the Reds’ Carabao Cup hopes off after last week’s goalless draw with Arsenal but he is backing his side to triumph in the semi-final’s second leg on Thursday night.
Arsenal played for more than hour with 10 men at Anfield after the early dismissal of Granit Xhaka but nevertheless held Liverpool to a rare blank, and Mikel Arteta’s side will now hope to capitalise on home advantage in the second leg.
Lijnders sensed a mood of pessimism around Anfield after the first match, but insisted he had been looking forward to Thursday’s second leg from the moment the final whistle went.
“There was disappointment in the stadium, the disappointment of the fans, of us as a staff, so it was not the outside world we’re speaking about.” Lijnders said when about the post-match mood. “We need optimism in our squad.”
And he pointed to Liverpool’s Champions League round-of-16 success over Bayern Munich in March 2019, when they drew 0-0 at Anfield before winning 3-1 at the Allianz Arena, as he said neither side could claim an advantage at this stage.
“A semi-final over two legs is decided over two legs, it’s half-time, it’s 0-0,” he said. “We proved already against Bayern Munich, it was 0-0 at home and then we went there and we won. We know what we are capable of. We know what we want.”
Karl Matchett20 January 2022 14:32