|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 goal.
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 goal gapping.
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.