Arsenal was able to hold on for more than an hour, a man down, leaving the League Cup
semi-final with Liverpool in a delicate position after the opening match ended in a draw in
Anfield at the end of Thursday.
The Gunners appeared to be set to pay for yet another lapse of sanity by former captain
Granit the Xhaka, who was dismissed for cutting off Diogo Jota after just 24 minutes.
But, Liverpool badly missed the power from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in their efforts
to make chances against the ten players.
Chelsea has already set their sights on the winner at Wembley next month following the
first match, originally planned to be played at the Emirates this week.
It was canceled due to a coronavirus epidemic within the Liverpool team.
The Reds were without Salah and Mane because of their international obligations at the
Africa Cup of Nations.
But Liverpool otherwise had a good health report, and Jurgen Klopp referred to the best
team available to him.
The home side got the upper hand in a tight first quarter, beginning with Ben White’s errant
clearance from Takumi Minamino’s cross, which skewed to the side that was closest neither
team got before the red card.
Xhaka remains a crucial player for Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, despite his recent
However, he is not expected to play in Sunday’s North London derby with Tottenham and
the second game next Thursday following his sending off twice this season.
Jota was smashed into the goal by Andy Robertson’s pinpoint ball, and the Portuguese were
crushed to the ground with Xhaka’s “lurk.
Arteta responded by giving up Eddie Nketiah for an extra center-back in Rob Holding, and
the visitors back five performed admirably despite Liverpool controlling possession.
Minamino’s errant cross that went inches across the goal is the nearest Klopp’s team were
to achieving the breakthrough before the German switched back to his bench for the final
The Japanese were the man who had Liverpool’s chances, but they dragged their shot out
of a narrow-angle in the middle of the second period.
A few minutes later, unusual Arsenal forays forward could have led to a winner when Kieran
Tierney snatched out Bukayo Saka.
However, they couldn’t outsmart Alisson Becker at close range.
There was also concern over Arteta after Saka was injured in the last stages.
All his team’s hard work was almost ruined in the final moments as Aaron Ramsdale
flapped at a cross, but Minamino was able to slice high and wide, with the goal gaping
leaving the ball to be played in the next game on the Emirates on the 20th of January.