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Reds hosting the Gunners

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The second semi-final of the Carabao Cup pits two teams that are more evenly matched than one might expect, if the most recent match is taken out of the equation. The match, set to be played a week ago, was postponed as Liverpool announced COVID-positive tests for a number of their players. Subsequently, Anfield will be the venue for the clash set to be played out on Thursday.

Liverpool found themselves one-goal down at Shrewsbury in the FA Cup before roaring back to record a 4-1 win. Having played out a thrilling draw with Chelsea in their last league game that did both clubs’ title chances no good and a second tie in the last three league games, which also includes a loss to Leicester City.


Jurgen Klopp is back on the sidelines and he will be expecting to get some first-team players too. He has to deal a number of absences in the preparation for the match and the circumstances are less than ideal, which could mean one of Klopp’s classic post-match rants regarding the fixtures congestion or AFCON.


Nevertheless, some of the bench players showed enough quality to make their case for this encounter and Klopp will be tempted to go for a youthful look.

Having been valiant right till the last in their narrow defeat to Manchester City, playing for almost half an hour with 10 men, Arsenal showed some familiar failings in the FA Cup. A shock exit to Nottingham Forest was followed by harsh words from Mikel Arteta regarding the team lacking basically everything on the pitch.


They finally seem to have a cogent system of playing, relying on quick passes, sharp movement and direct attacks. Arteta will be hoping to take a giant stride into a second final as manager of the Gunners. He has been relying on pretty much a settled lineup, and he would be hopeful of fielding the regulars once again.


They know this is one of the better times to face Liverpool, given their strong run of recent form in winning five of the last six games.



Cup competition regulars Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe are away at the AFCON, along with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thomas Partey. Florian Balogun should start as usual.


PROBABLE LINE-UP: Leno; Cedric, White, Holding, Tavares; Patino, Lokonga; Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli; Lacazette


Klopp is without his two bonafide stars in Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. Furthermore, Alisson, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino have all contracted COVID, meaning they will also miss out.


PROBABLE LINE-UP: Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Konate, Robertson; Jones, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Firmino, Jota, Origi



In the absence of all three of his strike partners, it is up to Diogo Jota to shoulder the goal scoring responsibilities in this match, and the month too most likely. He has been an efficient finisher, and had a couple of half chances against Chelsea as well.


His 12 goals in all competitions hold him in good stead to kick on and score again this time. The Gunners have shown a vulnerability against players with quick feet inside the box, which Jota is. Moreover, he is also an adept shooter from distance and has also helped in creating 24 chances so far.


Jota will also look to play across the front line, drawing the defenders out of position and setting up shooting chances for his teammates.

Bukayo Saka’s rise throughout this season has been massive, leading him to become one of the first names on the team sheet. The 20-year-old has finally settled into his favoured position on the right flank of the attack, having played in a number of different roles since making his debut.


Saka scored a cleverly taken goal against City as well, and his direct running caused Nathan Ake all sorts of problems. Arteta clearly trusts his young talent a lot, and with Pepe on international duty, Saka will definitely have to start and play a major part. Andy Robertson’s return from a three-game suspension will not be easy, and given the slowness of Liverpool’s midfield against Chelsea, Saka will have chances of running with the ball at speed.


Alongside his top notch finishing, Saka also has great delivery sense which can be crucial.



It is a difficult one to call, given the two teams are almost evenly matched and have some personnel absent. FootTheBall predicts a 2-1 win for the Reds at home.

Ratul Ghosh
His name means Red and a fan of devilish food, which equals to his favourite team being Manchester United. Can be found sleeping or in front of the TV otherwise. Hates waking up early but loves staying up late for football.

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