|Bukayo Saka testing Alison with the only shot on target in the first leg of their Carabao Cup Semifinals at Anfield on Thursday. It ended goalless. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)
The EFL semifinal clash between Arsenal and Liverpool was postponed from the original date last week following Liverpool’s controversial request for a postponement, citing covid reasons and their training ground was shut but suddenly reopened after the EFL agreed to a postponement.
The rescheduled game went ahead on Thursday night but
with Arsenal short on options following positive covid cases and injuries to
Emile Smith-Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu while both sides missed African players
on international duty.
Liverpool had their best available eleven against the
Gunners and it looked set to be a one sided affair; it went from bad to worse
for the visitors when Granit Xhaka, last man in the scenario as early as the 24th
minute was sent off for his indiscretions on Diogo Jota who was through on
Reduced to ten men yet again, Mikel Arteta removed Eddie
Nketiah and brought on Rob Holding to shore things up defensively, Liverpool dominated
for the entirety of the first half with the Gunners troubling them on the break
a couple of times through the highly rated Bukayo Saka.
The second half was pretty even despite then numerical
advantage to the Kops, in fact Arsenal had the best chance of the game midway
into the second half when a neatly worked Arsenal move fell to Saka but his
effort was well saved by Alison in the Liverpool goal.
Jurgen Klopp rang changes and sent on Curtis Jones, Neco
Williams and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain who of course was an Arsenal player for
five years but it was Arsenal on the break that looked the likelier to score of
the two teams.
Liverpool’s best chance of the night fell to Takumi
Minamino late on when scrambles in the Arsenal area fell to him with the goalkeeper
Aaron Ramsdale in no man’s land but the Japanese ballooned his effort with the
It ended goalless at Anfield, setting up a sensational
second leg to determine who plays Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final next month,
that was the first time a team was stopping Liverpool from scoring at Anfield
in over a year.