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Scousers on to Wembley

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Liverpool booked a trip to Wembley for the Carabao Cup final after seeing out Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium thanks to a Diogo Jota brace.



The Gunners started the match on the front foot, pressing the Liverpool backline high up the field. They were able to draw two corners in the opening five minutes along with a free kick in a very dangerous position on the left boundary of the penalty area. Alexandre Lacazette’s attempt nearly got the opener but Caoimhin Kelleher to scramble across and make the save.

Liverpool responded well and thought they took the lead when Joel Mateo tapped in Fabinho’s header from a corner but the flag went up against the centre-back and it was correctly ruled out.



They did take the lead in the 19th minute thanks to some exceptional play from Diogo Jota. The Portuguese forward picked up the ball on the left wing, nutmegged Tomiyasu and cut inside. His scuffed shot wrong footed Aaron Ramsdale and give Liverpool the lead on the night and in the tie.

The Reds started to dominate the proceedings with Curtis Jones and Fabinho pulling the strings in midfield. The Brazilian made an important interception in the box, getting a foot in on Gabriel Martinelli at the right time after he was played in by Kieran Tierney.

The away side managed the game well and saw out the first half, failing to create any big opportunities but also importantly, not letting Arsenal a sight on goal.


Liverpool started the second half in the same way with Jota continuing to threaten the Arsenal goal. His menacing run down the left should have doubled the lead but young Kaide Gordon fired wildly over from his cut back.

They went close again on the hour mark with Ibrahim Konate hitting the post from a Trent-Alexander Arnold corner and Jordan Henderson failed to beat Ramsdale on the follow-up. Substitute Takumi Minamino was the next one to go close a few minutes later but saw his shot from a loose ball well blocked.

Andy Robertson had a sighter go wide on the volley after a half-cleared clearance from Tomiyasu from a James Milner cross. Arsenal looked to break through Saka and Martinelli but the wingers were unable to beat their man on the day.

Jota had the ball in the net again after a great pass from Alexander-Arnold that allowed him to take a touch and lob the ball past Ramsdale. The goal was ruled out but a VAR check revealed that he was indeed onside and Liverpool led 2-0.



Arsenal were quickly running out of time and tried to push with Martinelli flashing a shot over after neat interplay on the right wing. Their hopes were dashed with substitute Thomas Partey getting sent off after picking up two yellow cards in quick succession.

Liverpool saw out the game comfortably and set up a tie at Wembley in the final against Chelsea. Here are our takeaways from the match –



The absence of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane was visible in the first leg with Liverpool failing to break down 10-men Arsenal but the void was ably filled by Diogo Jota in the returning fixture. The Portuguese has truly replaced Firmino as the third prong of Klopp’s trident and is the most important player for the Reds currently.



His goal scoring contributions have been as good as Mane and Firmino have been for Liverpool and he holds the key for their season until their African duo returns.



Arsenal struggled for long periods in the game, unable to impose themselves in midfield and a big reason for that was the absence of Granit Xhaka who was sent off in the first leg. The Swiss national is oft-criticised but he holds the key to Mikel Arteta’s side, bringing in some much needed experience.



The concern does not end there for Arteta though as Arsenal are under investigation for a suspicious yellow card and rumours are that it is Xhaka’s booking against Leicester recently. If found guilty, he could be banned for a long time which spells doom for Arsenal.



Liverpool now face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final next month in what represents their big chance at a trophy this season. Manchester City have developed a huge lead atop the Premier League and there is a long way to go in the Champions League and FA Cup.



Klopp and Tuchel will be looking to secure their position as the prime challengers to Man City at Wembley and it looks to be a fascinating tie.

Ritwik Khanna
Economics student supporting FC Goa and Manchester United, in true masochistic way. Can be found reading Jonathan Wilson and Sid Lowe or planning a quirky trip in his free time.

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