Since the cup game, the Reds got a much-needed victory in the PL against Brentford. Klopp showed signs that he is willing to rotate the squad to deal with the absence of Salah and Mane. Elliott is also back in training and could be back in the mix to start the semi-final’s second leg. The Gunner’s last league game was postponed due to them having a player shortage, which could possibly hinder their form. As for postponements’s the EFL and the PL accepted the Reds and Gunner’s requests of late. This time around the Gunners might put another request which was met by an angry response from their bitter rivals.
Why Should You be Watching?
The shadows of postponement can hinder the excitement of any match, yet we still hope for no postponement. This season is easily the worst when it comes to handling such situations but we move.
For the Gunners, we await to see whether their talismanic youngsters can step up. Saka has spearheaded them so far but could be out due to the knock he picked in the first leg. The Gunner’s clearly have the spirit to do well, as this is easily their best spell under Arteta.
The Reds have little to worry about team injuries, but can be easily let down by Klopp’s tactics at times. As for youngster’s the likes of Neco and Curtis jones showed that they can step up if needed. Hard to pick a standout player as this is a continual adjustment for the Red’ to replace Mane and Salah.
Liverpool’s form: LDWDW
Arsenal’s form: WWLLD
Head to Head
In the last 11 meetings between the two sides, Liverpool has a better record. The Merseysiders have won six games while Arsenal has won three. Two matches ended in a draw.
In the English Carabao Cup, the two teams played a total of 4 games before, of which Arsenal won 1, Liverpool won 0 and the two teams drew 3. In the English Premier League, the two teams played a total of 25 games before, of which Arsenal won 7, Liverpool won 15 and the two teams drew 3.
The winner of this could end up winning the trophy, Arsenal has just the mere two League Cups, Reds 8 (joint top with Man City).
Ruled out from this game
Aubameyang (AFCON), Elneny (AFCON), Partey (AFCON), Pepe (AFCON), Granit Xhaka (red card), Smith Rowe ( Covid), Cedric (Hip Injury), Tomiyasu (Calf Injury)
Formation : 4-2-3-1
Defense: Chambers, Gabriel, White, Tierney
Midfield: Lokonga, Odegard
Attack : Saka, Lacazette ,Martinelli
Ruled out from this game
Philips (Head Injury), Thiago (Hip Injury), OX-Chamberlian (Ankle injury), Origi (Knee Injury), Elliott (Ankle Injury)
Salah, Mane ,Keita (AFCON)
Formation : 4-3-3
Defense: Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson
Midfield: Henderson, Fabinho, Jones;
Attack: Minamino, Firmino, Jota
Players to Watch Out For
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has always had a soft spot for players who work hard. Fabinho, who has worked tirelessly over the course of the year, has been his absolute favorite. He really emerged as one of the best when Klopp moved him to the center of the pitch.
From reading the game and dictating the tempo, to intercepting passes and providing pinpoint long balls, Fabinho has done it all in 2021, and with grace. His recent upsurge in form backs his attributes. A glue Like him is vital due to the absence of Salah and Mane.
One of the biggest reasons for Arsenal’s uptick in form has been the excellent form of Ødegaard, who has been finding a consistent rhythm in Arteta’s 4-2-3-1.
His playmaking numbers will also go up if he has more quality around him in the attacking third of the pitch. After the recent fallout of Aubameyang with Arteta, it is Lacazette who will be playing the center forward position regularly, but he isn’t clinical enough and also isn’t the best in making runs behind the defenders, and his style of play of receiving the ball to feet do not get the most out of the Norwegian’s strengths.
If the Gunners were injury and COVID free then you’d back them to win this. The confidence gained from that unified and battling performance at Anfield will put them in great stead and aside from AFCON’s involvement, on home soil, this is one you’d back Arsenal to win.
The Reds were off sorts in the attacking sense in the first leg as they don’t have the same fluency without their African duo, but as also seen in that game, they pose such a threat in transition. Given Arsenal will be far more expansive than they were with ten men, that is where the danger is.
Overall you can expect a nail-bitter entertaining clash in this 2nd leg to set up the summit clash against Chelsea later in the month.
For more such articles do click here