Controversy surrounded the postponement of the EFL Cup semi-final first leg between Arsenal and Liverpool last week, with the battle in the Emirates being pushed back thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Liverpool squad.
After it was later revealed that the Reds had faced a number of false positives, the first leg is now scheduled for Thursday at Anfield as the Reds and Gunners finally enter the pitch. Aside from those heading to the Africa Cup of Nations, both managers have relatively fit teams for the game.
A place at Wembley is on the line in the full 180 minutes, as both sides look to take the lead with them in London for next week’s final. Chelsea are already confirmed as the first finalist, so the winner of this two-legged match will face the Blues.
MORE: Chelsea reserves place in EFL Cup final
Arsenal and Liverpool have died even throughout their history in this competition, with both teams holding six wins and four draws in the books, so bragging rights are also at stake. Liverpool dominated the final meeting between the two teams , a 4-0 defeat in the Premier League at the end of November.
** Sporting News will follow the event live and provide scores updates, commentary and highlights as they occur.
Liverpool vs Arsenal live score
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2:10 p.m .: Arsenal may want to try to shoot more this time around against Liverpool. Limiting the hits also helps. This is your expert analysis of the day.
Arsenal’s latest fixtures against Liverpool – total shots
3 against 24
8 against 15
4 against 21
6 against 16
3 against 16
5 against 19#LIVAR
– Orbinho (@Orbinho) January 13, 2022
1:45 p.m .: Want a score predictor (less than scientific)? We got 3-3, which would make a fabulous 90 minutes for the neutrals.
13:35: The lineup is there, and it’s even stronger than expected for Liverpool as Trent Alexander-Arnold unexpectedly returns from his COVID-19 isolation. Both Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are included in the lineup, suggesting a possible 4-4-2 from Jurgen Klopp, unless one of them plays wide.
Meanwhile, Arsenal will see one of the Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette or Gabriel Martinelli replace in 10th place in 4-2-3-1, Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe missing. The Gunners bench makes the read ugly, they’re a really thin team right now.
Followers tonight: Leno, Holding, Mari, Chambers, Tavares, Patino, Salah-Eddine, Hutchinson, Biereth.
– Charles Watts (@charles_watts) January 13, 2022
13:29: Another reason to take over tonight: Jurgen Klopp loves playing Arsenal. Full betting tip below.
43 – Under Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool have scored more goals against Arsenal in all competitions (43) than against any other opponent. Anticipation. pic.twitter.com/Vg36lnQkV3
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 13, 2022
13:23: They distribute flags to local supporters. The Kop should be rocking.
A semi-final in the spotlight at Anfield tonight. We’ll need help with the flags, if people can get down to the Kop / Kemlyn corner under the dash from 7.15pm.
We also have smaller flags for kids or people who haven’t waved one before. As always, anyone on the Kop is welcome.
– Spion Kop 1906 (@ SpionKop1906) January 13, 2022
1:08 p.m .: The calm before the storm.
12:45 p.m .: Ahead of this clash, take a look back at the insane encounter between Liverpool and Leicester City in the EFL Cup quarter-finals that saw the Reds reach this stage of the competition.
Liverpool’s lineup against Arsenal
Liverpool lineup notes
Trent Alexander-Arnold was thought to be the only Liverpool player still isolated from COVID-19, but he is included in the starting lineup after making a quick comeback from COVID-19 protocols, meaning the Reds are back in a virus-free team. Goalkeeper Alisson is included in the returnee group, having missed time earlier with a positive COVID-19 test.
Still, people like Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita are all on duty at CAN 2021, and the injured group Harvey Elliott, Divock Origi, Thiago and Nat Phillips join them on the list of unavailable players. The Reds are therefore not exactly in good health despite the disappearance of COVID-19 cases. This means that young players like Curtis Jones and Kaide Gordon have benched, and they could potentially see the pitch depending on how play unfolds.
Interestingly, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are included in the starting lineup, suggesting Liverpool could line up in more of a 4-4-2, unless one of them is deployed off.
Liverpool’s projected starting eleven (4-4-2): Alisson (GK) – Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson – Fabinho, Henderson, Milner, Minamino – Jota, Firmino.
Liverpool Submarines (9): Kelleher (GK), Konaté, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Tsimikas, Gordon, Morton, Williams.
Arsenal Composition Notes
Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny are both in service at CAN 2022, which means the Arenal midfielder is extremely thin. It could waste time for Charlie Patino and Albert Lokonga in the middle of the field. The Gunners also appeared to be facing problems from COVID-19, but Granit Xhaka has proven to be in good shape, a major boost. Takehiro Tomiyasu is reportedly still out with a calf injury meaning Cedric Soares is stepping in from the back again.
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Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe are both out, Smith Rowe was unable to recover from the groin injury that kept him out of the FA Cup game last weekend, and Odegaard a recent addition to the list after testing positive for COVID-19. That leaves Arsenal without a number 10, with either one of Gabriel Martinelli or Alexandre Lacazette moving to the center to take the place.
Another question for Mikel Arteta is who will start as a striker. Eddie Nketiah has been a staple option in Cup games of the recent past, but he was poor in the FA Cup loss to Nottingham Forest. However, with the slim attack options, Nkeitah starts regardless of recent performance.
Starting eleven planned by Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale (GK) – Cédric, White, Gabriel, Tierney – Lokonga, Xhaka – Saka, Lacazette, Martinelli – Nketiah.
Arsenal submarines: Leno (GK), Holding, Mari, Chambers, Tavares, Patino, Salah-Eddine, Hutchinson, Biereth.
How to watch Liverpool vs Arsenal
- Dated: Thursday January 13
- Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
- Diffusion: ESPN + (subscribers only)
Thursday’s first leg between Liverpool and Arsenal from Anfield in the EFL Cup semi-final will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN + in the US.
Pre-match betting lines, picks and predictions
Take: Liverpool win and over 1.5 goals (+130)
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal
- Moneyline: Liverpool +100 / Draw +275 / Arsenal +260
- Spread (Asian handicap): Liverpool -0.5 (+100) / Arsenal +0.5 (-115)
- O / U 2.5 total goals: Over -140 / Under +120
- The two teams score: Yes -165 / No +125