Quickly reduced to 13, Arsenal held on (0-0) against a Liverpool in breakdown of offensive inspiration, Thursday, at Anfield, for the semi-final first leg of the League Cup.
The verdict fell Wednesday in the other semi-final, with the qualification of Chelsea which beat twice Tottenham (2-0, 1-0), remains to be determined who of Liverpool and Arsenal will face the Blues in the English League Cup final. But before returning to London in a week, everything remains to be done after the draw between the Reds and the Gunners on Thursday 13 January (0-0) at Anfield Road.
This meeting was initially to be the second leg of the confrontation, but a combination of injuries , cases of Covid-19 and departures from the African Cup nations had allowed Liverpool to obtain a one-week postponement, by reversing the matches.
Also deprived of several players, including Martin Odegaard, who tested positive for Covid and withdrew from the last minute, Arsenal intended to show that it was capable of resisting a team from the English top 3.
The Gunners however complicated the task from the 24th minute with the expulsion of Granit Xhaka, already guilty of having saddle Manchester City during the defeat (2-1), on January 1, by offering the ega penalty, while Pep Guardiola’s team had been suffering for 27 minutes.
This time, on a long ball from the Reds, the Swiss midfielder threw himself to intercept it without taking the information and his foot landed in the belly of Diogo Jota who was coming behind him, prompting Michael Oliver to pull out the red straight away, without much protest from the Gunners.
Quickly reduced to 13, Arsenal resists Liverpool!
⚡️ The Reds have nevertheless pushed to the end
Minamino missed a golden opportunity at the very end of the game
➡️ The place in the final will be decided next Thursday#LIVARS https ://t.co/e9M6jjielp
— beIN SPORTS (@beinsports_FR) January 17, 2022 After the exit of striker Eddie Nketiah to let Rob Holding in, the Londoners hunkered down even more, often playing together in their 19 last meters to close as many spaces as possible.
If the absences of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, who left for CAN and were replaced by Roberto Firmino and Takumi Minamin o, have made themselves felt, they are not enough to explain the attacking difficulties of draft and stereotypical Reds.
Heroes of the previous round, by equalizing at the last minute against Leicester to send the two teams to the penalty shootout won by his team (3-3, 5-4 on pens), Minamino symbolized the offensive clumsiness of the Reds, materialized by 1 shot on target in 19 attempts. He crossed his shot too much after a nice serve in the box from Andrew Robertson (68e) , before sending the ball into the heavens as the goal was open after a failed exit from Aaron Ramsdale at the 68e minute.
A heroic defensive performance pic.twitter.com/deBM3yolA9
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 13 , 2022 Arsenal even came close to an excellent operation when Alisson, back in goal, had to make a decisive exit in front of Bukayo Saka at the conclusion of a well-executed counter (72e). However, it will still take a big performance from the Gunners at home to validate their ticket for the final, on 27 February, especially as Liverpool is chasing the record of victories in the competition which it currently co-holds with Manchester City (8), eliminated in eighth.