Arsenal VS Liverpool Final – LIVE Football Reddit Score 21 Jan 2022
Arsenal and Liverpool will renew acquaintances at the Emirates Stadium when they lock horns for the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Thursday night. After a goalless draw was played out in last week’s first leg, the tie is now nicely poised with both sides vying for a place in the final against Chelsea. Many Arsenal supporters would have felt that their side were to face an uphill battle away at Anfield in the first leg, after another moment of madness from Granit Xhaka saw the Swiss midfielder dismissed before the half-hour mark.
Just two more games remain for the Carabao Cup champions to be crowned. With Chelsea waiting to find who they will be facing next month, the second finalist will be confirmed on Thursday night, when Arsenal will play hosts to Liverpool at the Emirates in the second leg of their semi-final. The turn of the year has been tumultuous for Arsenal, with two of their games rescheduled due to the ridiculous waves of postponements affecting the Premier League. The Gunners are yet to clinch their maiden win in 2022, losing back-to-back games to start the new year before playing out a creditable goalless draw with Liverpool in the first leg last week.
Like Arsenal, Liverpool’s start to the new year has been anything but kind. But unlike their hosts, the Reds are yet to lose a game in 2022, winning two and drawing two of their four games thus far. The most recent of these fixtures ended in a 3-0 win over Brentford, a result that should buoy the visitors heading into the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg. As iterated earlier, Liverpool and Arsenal played out a goalless draw in the first leg last week, with the most notable moment being Granit Xhaka’s dismissal. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Mikel Arteta has a raft of roster issues hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Liverpool. After successfully having the North London Derby postponed due to the fitness concerns in his squad, the Arsenal manager will be bereft of the services of eight first-team players on Saturday. The good news is that Calum Chambers, Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka have shrugged off their minor fitness issues to resume training this week. The three players will likely make the starting eleven, with Chambers and Tierney expected to start as the two full-backs, while Saka will reprise his usual role on the right flank.
In another piece of good news, Martin Odegaard has been back in training after testing negative for COVID-19. The Norwegian playmaker should be back in the side straight away, joining Saka and Gabriel Martinelli in the final third. The trio will supplement Alexandre Lacazette, who will spearhead the Arsenal attack against Liverpool.
However, a resilient defensive performance from Mikel Arteta’s 10 men ensured the Gunners held on for the draw, leaving the second leg on a knife edge with all to play for in front of their own fans on Thursday. Since the first leg, Arsenal’s coronavirus troubles have worsened while Arteta is also having to deal with injuries, suspensions and AFCON absentees. As a result, Sunday’s eagerly-anticipated North London derby was postponed at the Gunners’ request.
It remains to be seen whether their second-leg tie with Liverpool is to go ahead, but for now Arteta and his remaining available players will continue to prepare for the challenging contest that awaits. While the Gunners have never lost a home fixture in the EFL Cup against Liverpool – winning and drawing three games each – they have won only one of their last 17 meetings against the Reds across all competitions, and have failed to score in their last four in succession.
As for the bad news, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Emile Smith Rowe are yet to resume training, while Granit Xhaka is suspended after his petulant kick on Diogo Jota earned him a straight red card. With Thomas Partey yet to return since Ghana’s early elimination from the Africa Cup of Nations, Albert Sambi Lokonga is the only recognised central midfielder at Arteta’s disposal.
The Arsenal boss could give young Charlie Patino a chance to impress. But Ben White will likely start alongside Lokonga in the double-pivot, having reprised a midfield role several times at Brighton & Hove Albion. White’s deployment in midfield essentially means Gabriel Magalhaes will have Rob Holding as his central defensive partner. Finally, Aaron Ramsdale should get the nod ahead of Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal, considering the fixture’s importance.
Like his counterpart in the Arsenal dugout, Jurgen Klopp has a slew of personnel availability concerns to deal with ahead of the trip to the Emirates. On Saturday, the Liverpool manager will be without eight first-team players. The major absentees for Liverpool continue to be the two attacking stalwarts, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who are at the Africa Cup of Nations. The other players on the sidelines are Nathaniel Phillips (head), Thiago Alcantara (hip), Harvey Elliott (ankle), Naby Keita (AFCON), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knock) and Divock Origi (knee), although Elliott has recently resumed training.
Another impressive defensive display will be required on Thursday if they are to keep Liverpool’s attackers at bay, who were certainly missing a cutting edge last week in the absence of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. Nevertheless, Jurgen Klopp will be confident that his available options can find their form in front of goal, particularly against a Gunners side who they have scored more goals against across all competitions (43) than any other opponent under the German’s tutelage.
After picking up just two Premier League points from a possible nine available in encounters with Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and Chelsea, Liverpool returned to winning ways with a comfortable 3-0 victory against Brentford on Sunday. Fabinho’s first-half header was followed by second-half goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Takumi Minamino, which helped the Reds leapfrog Chelsea into second place in the table.
Klopp would have been hoping that the Blues could do them a favour over the weekend in their contest with league leaders Manchester City; however, Pep Guardiola’s side extended their impressive winning streak which leaves Liverpool 11 points behind the current holders with a game in hand.
For the first time in five years, Liverpool are preparing for a semi-final second-leg clash in a domestic cup competition. The Reds have been known over the years for their successes in both the FA Cup and the EFL Cup, particularly the latter. However, Klopp is yet to win either as a manager so the German will be keen to add at least one of these pieces of silverware to his CV this term, considering his side remain in both cup competitions at this stage.
Liverpool have reached more EFL Cup finals than any other side in the competition’s history. Having said that, the Reds have only reached the showpiece event twice in the last 16 years, with their last triumph in 2011-12 against Cardiff City. With hopes of claiming another Premier League title seemingly slipping away, reaching the first cup final of 2022 would be welcomed by Liverpool supporters, who will be hoping that their team can avoid another frustrating affair against the Gunners on Thursday.