Liverpool vs. Arsenal result: Woeful Reds locked down by 10-man Arsenal in Carabao Cup semifinal first leg

Liverpool vs. Arsenal result: Woeful Reds locked down by 10-man Arsenal in Carabao Cup semifinal first leg

After Granit Xhaka’s moment of madness inside the opening half-hour reduced Arsenal to 10 men, it felt like Anfield was ready to explode at any moment.

It never did.

Arsenal produced nothing short of a gutsy team effort to hold a Liverpool side devoid of ideas scoreless and send the EFL Cup semifinal back to the Emirates with a 0-0 scoreline and the matchup very much in the balance. The Gunners could very well have capitulated once Xhaka was sent to the showers and Cedric withdrawn with an injury, but instead Mikel Arteta orchestrated a masterpiece, as Ben White led the monumental defensive effort while Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli added flair.

MORE: Chelsea books place in EFL Cup final

Liverpool, meanwhile, produced just a single shot on target the entire match despite the advantage, with Takumi Minamino missing the best opportunity in the dying moments of the game. The Reds looked completely lost with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane away on Africa Cup of Nations duty. Jurgen Klopp deployed three defensive-minded midfielders and they lacked any creative spark throughout.

A spot at Wembley is now on the line with a level aggregate, as both sides are hoping to find a moment to savor next week in London. Chelsea is already confirmed as the first finalist, so the victor from this two-legged matchup will move on to face the Blues.

**Sporting News followed the event live and provided score updates, commentary and highlights as they happened.

Liverpool vs. Arsenal live score

  1H 2H Final Aggregate
Liverpool   0   0  0    0
Arsenal   0   0  0    0


(All times Eastern)

Post-Match reaction:

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta speaking to Sky Sports: “[The players] showed great fight and determination. They never gave up. To do what they done today, they deserve great credit. We played the game that we had to play.”

Arteta, continued: “I am really proud of what we did today against a great opponent in a stadium like this. To play like this is not our strength, it’s not what we train. We had to play with emotion. We are at half time [of the two legs]. They are an extraordinary opponent, we have to consider this result a positive but we have to create an atmosphere at the Emirates.”

Arsenal defender Ben White on playing with 10 men: “It’s not ideal, is it? There’s so much fight in this team, it showed today. We dug deep and we got the result that we needed really…It’s tough, you have to concentrate the whole game. We had a bit of luck and the result is well deserved.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted his team’s effort was poor: “I thought we started well and I liked it – we were direct, it was how we wanted to start – I would have preferred a goal over the red card. After that, we felt under pressure. When you play against such a low block, we struggled tonight. Second half we looked better and had situations – but it was not good enough for the result. But it’s only half-time. It’s not like we have no chance. We will give the second game a proper try.”

Klopp knows he will face a similar situation against Brentford in Premier League play this weekend: “Brentford will probably play 5 at the back as well, so we need to change the things we usually do naturally – that is clear. Then playing against 10 men with a really low block – we couldn’t be properly well tuned tonight – it’s not an excuse.

“I have no idea what Arsenal will do when we face them. I know my mind is already on Brentford on Sunday, from Monday you can ask me what I will do [against Arsenal]. A lot of things I liked but the general outcome was not good enough, that’s the truth of this game. We know we can play better, we know that we have to play better. And that’s what we will work on.”

Full-Time: Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal

A famous result of determination and resiliance by Arsenal, who went down to 10 men inside the opening half-hour, but the Gunners produced a fabulous response to earn a scoreless draw. Minamino’s late miss was by far Liverpool’s best chance, and he came up empty.

Granit Xhaka’s moment of madness could cost Arsenal down the road, but at least today, it doesn’t cost them dearly. Liverpool finishes with just a single shot on target, which is a dreadful return given the amount of advantages the Reds were afforded in the opening stage of the match and the pressure they put Arsenal under. Jurgen Klopp has some things to sort out with the AFCON men away for at least another week and likely longer.

What a galvanizing result for Arsenal. What a missed opportunity for Liverpool.

93rd minute:  Ramsdale makes a mess of another punch, and Ben White has to “clear off the line” – it was going wide, but still, the ball was headed towards net in the danger area. Gunners somewhat falling apart with a few minutes remaining…the goalkeeper isn’t helping things here with just a few ticks left.

90th minute:  HOW HAS MINAMINO MISSED?! Ramsdale comes out to challenge for a cross and makes a meal of it, but the Japan international blasts the shot miles over the bar with just one Arsenal defender between him and a wide-open net. Just not Liverpool’s night. Anfield spurring the Reds on with five minutes of added time. Liverpool pouring on the pressure, but that’s an unforgiveable miss.

85th minute:  Oh Diogo Jota! The Liverpool striker had a glorious chance as he got away from Gabriel, but Neco Williams’ looped cross completely eats him up and Firmino can’t get to the knockdown. That was Liverpool’s best chance, but still without a shot on target.

83rd minute:  Henderson and Oxlade-Chamberlain both rifle shots deep into the Kop. A reminder – Liverpool does not have a single shot on target against 10-man Arsenal in this match. Running out of time.

80th minute:  Worrying for Arsenal, who can’t have good things today. It’s Saka who looks to be in pain. He tried to take some form of remedy on the sideline, but it didn’t work and he’s hauled off. It’s unclear exactly what the issue is, but Mikel Arteta helps the youngster with his jacket on the sideline and pats him on the head for a job well done. Nuno Tavares comes on.

Gunners will pray that whatever ails Saka is gone by Sunday’s North London Derby.

75th minute:  Klopp throwing a hail mary, bringing on Neco Williams, Joe Gomez, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a triple substitution. Fabinho off, with Matip to follow and Alexander-Arnold as well. Quite straightforward, like-for-like substitutions.

73rd minute:  Gabriel is cautioned for hauling down Jota. The free-kick is out by Holding for a Liverpool corner, and then resulting set-piece results in an Arsenal break run by Martinelli that fizzles out.

72nd minute:  Chance for Arsenal! Cross from the left is right at the feet of Saka on the doorstep, and what would have been a very difficult finish is smothered by Alisson before the Arsenal attacker can get a shot off. Very nearly happened for the Gunners.

70th minute:  If you’re a Liverpool fan hoping and praying that things improve in the final 20 minutes…keep hoping. Arsenal has now gone 50 minutes with 10 men, and Liverpool doesn’t have a single shot on target.

64th minute:  Alisson just took a throw-in, so that’s something fun. At least we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

63rd minute:  Liverpool recycles possession, tries something, there’s an opening, it doesn’t come off. Arsenal counters, wins a foul, not enough men forward, Liverpool regains possession. Rinse, repeat.

Joel Matip has a go at referee Michael Oliver for being dispossessed by Saka in a two-footed challenge that wasn’t whistled.

56th minute:  Arsenal has completely taken the sting out of this game. Liverpool has no answers. Bukayo Saka, with precious few opportunities on the ball, has been the best player on the pitch since the Xhaka red card. Andy Robertson is carded for pulling back Saka.

Klopp appears to be readying Curtis Jones. It’ll be Milner to come off.

47th minute:  Oh wow, doubtful he meant to do that, but a Takumi Minamino sent in a cross for Diogo Jota and it nearly dipped into the far corner. Ramsdale didn’t get a touch on it, which would have meant trouble had it been on target, which it nearly was. Arsenal was nearly caught out getting a bit happy down the other end, can’t get too excited while reduced to 10 men.

46th minute:  Back under way for the second half. No substitutions at the halftime break for either side, surprisingly. We’ll see what Liverpool comes up with to break down the 10-man Gunners.

The opening seconds see Liverpool hilariously put the ball out near the midfield line while trying to build from the back under no pressure. Arsenal will take that.

Halftime: Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal

The big moment of the first half was the Granit Xhaka red card, but Liverpool was poor against 10 men, and Arsenal had the better last five minutes before the break. This has been a pathetic display against 10 men, with no shots on target, and Jurgen Klopp will need to make changes at halftime.

After an opening half-hour that was as calamitous as can be, Arsenal looked structured and unbreakable after going down a man, under siege for long periods of time but never uncomfortable. But there’s a long way to go before this one’s shored up.

41st minute:  Arsenal has a nip down the other end, as Bukayo Saka does well to retain possession on the flank and drive forward. His delivery forces Matip to loop it out for a corner dangerously.

36th minute:  Microcosm of this match – Chambers fouls Minamino on the touchline giving Liverpool a dangerous free-kick, which Henderson tries to get cheeky with and takes it quick, looping it straight to an Arsenal defender who has no red shirt within five yards.

34th minute:  For all the trouble Arsenal’s put itself through, no shots on target for either side so far. Liverpool sure is biding its time pouncing on the wounded animal. The absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane rearing its head.

31st minute:  Half-hour gone, and the Gunners are left with a razor thin margin for error. More low-hanging fruit on social media…

28th minute:  Arteta makes a change in response to the red card, it’s Rob Holding on and Eddie Nketiah off. Harsh on the striker but that’s how this goes. Arteta knows it’s still 0-0, and if he can lead Arsenal through this first leg with minimal damage, the semifinal won’t be completely lost.

24th minute:  RED! Granit Xhaka sent off!  Oh my, what a BONKERS tackle. Milner picks out Diogo Jota on the break who got by Xhaka, and the Swiss international just throws his boot straight into Jota’s chest, sent off for a last-man foul. The foul itself wasn’t terribly pretty either. It’s completely nonsensical from the Arsenal midfielder.

It’s the second time Xhaka has been sent off this season…last time it happened, Arsenal crumpled to a 5-0 defeat vs. Man City. He’s out of the North London Derby as well as the second leg of this meeting. Costly decision to say the least.

20th minute:  Milner down after taking an errant arm from Bukayo Saka in an aerial duel, a few minutes after Jordan Henderson took an elbow as well.

18th minute:  Arsenal finally has a sniff in the Liverpool half, but Kieran Tierney’s cross is headed clear and the move ends. Gunners feeding on scraps here.

Lacazette has a go from distance after Henderson gives it straight to him. It was a shot from acres away and taken very quickly, didn’t come close.

13th minute:  Will the Gunners get a grip? Goodness gracious, Ben White nearly puts the ball into his own net now, sliding to stop a cross and seeing the ball clip off his foot and skitter just wide of the far post. Calamitous stuff at the back right now for Arsenal, and somehow the Gunners haven’t been punished. Yet.

Meanwhile, Liverpool is controlling every bit of attacking possession, and the Reds have come close on a few occasions. 75% possession so far.

12th minute:  Oh my word, another glaring mistake from Arsenal at the back. This time it’s Ramsdale who took too long to boot a ball into midfield, and Jordan Henderson charged him down, the boot ultimately banging off Henderson’s chest. Another weird corner given away, as the Gunners avoid anything worse.

10th minute:  Real trouble for Arsenal here. Cedric, in for Tomayasu who’s out injured, is down with an injury, and the look of frustration on his face is a clear sign that he can’t continue. Arsenal has to dig even deeper, with Calum Chambers coming off the bench.

Ian can’t help himself…

6th minute:  Chance for Liverpool! First chance of the match comes off a lucky bounce to Henderson who sends it wide to Andy Robertson. The full-back whips in a cross that is inches away from an unmarked Roberto Firmino looking to get his head to it. Warning sign for the Arsenal back line.

5th minute:  Goodness gracious…Gabriel with one of the worst back-passes you’ll ever see, but it’s harmlessly out for a corner rather than anything more poisonious. The corner comes to nothing for Liverpool. Yikes.

3rd minute:  Liverpool controlling early possession as the midfields begin what is sure to be a lively 90-minute battle. First corner of the game to the Reds, but it’s headed away emphatically by the Gunners.

1st minute:  We are under way! Arsenal wearing its interesting third kit that features a blue & purple zig-zag with white numerals and lettering. A bit much. I’m a fan of the fancy numeric font, though.

2:10 p.m.:  Arsenal might want to try shooting more this time around against Liverpool. Also limiting shots helps. This has been your expert analysis of the day.

1:45 p.m.:  Fancy a (less than scientific) score predictor? We got 3-3, which would produce a fabulous 90 minutes for the neutrals.

1:35 p.m.:  Lineup are in, and it’s even stronger than expected for Liverpool as Trent Alexander-Arnold returns unexpectely from his COVID-19 isolation. Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are both included in the lineup, suggesting a possible 4-4-2 from Jurgen Klopp, unless one of them is playing out wide.

Meanwhile, Arsenal will see one of Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette, or Gabriel Martinelli deputize as #10 in the 4-2-3-1 with both Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe missing out. The Gunners’ bench makes for ugly reading, this is a really thin squad at the moment.

1:29 p.m.:  Another reason to take the over tonight: Jurgen Klopp loves facing Arsenal. Full betting tip below.

1:23 p.m.:  They’re handing out flags for home fans. The Kop should be rocking.

1:08 p.m.:  The calm before the storm.

12:45 p.m.: Before this matchup, have a look back at the bonkers meeting between Liverpool and Leicester City in the EFL Cup quarterfinals that saw the Reds reach this stage of the competition.

Liverpool vs. Arsenal lineups

Liverpool lineup notes

It was thought that Trent Alexander-Arnold was the only Liverpool player still in COVID-19 isolation, but he is included in the starting lineup after making a quick return from COVID-19 protocols, meaning the Reds are back to a virus-free squad. Goalkeeper Alisson is included in the group of returnees, having missed time earlier with a positive COVID-19 test.

Still, the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita are all on AFCON 2021 duty, and the injured group of Harvey Elliott, Divock Origi, Thiago, and Nat Phillips join them on the unavailable players list. So the Reds aren’t exactly healthy despite the COVID-19 cases fading away. That means young players like Curtis Jones and Kaide Gordon have made the bench, and they could potentially see the field depending on game flow.

Interestingly, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are included in the starting lineup, suggesting Liverpool could be lining up in more of a 4-4-2, unless one of the two is being deployed out wide.

Liverpool projected starting lineup (4-4-2): Alisson (GK) – Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson – Fabinho, Henderson, Milner, Minamino – Jota, Firmino.

Liverpool subs (9):  Kelleher (GK), Konate, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Tsimikas, Gordon, Morton, Williams.

Arsenal lineup notes

Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny are both on AFCON 2022 duty, meaning the Arenal midfield is extremely thin. That could lead to time for Charlie Patino and Albert Lokonga in the middle of the pitch. The Gunners also appeared to be dealing with COVID-19 issues, but Granit Xhaka has proven himself fit, a major boost. Takehiro Tomiyasu is reportedly still out with a calf injury, meaning Cedric Soares steps in at right back again.

MORE: Arsenal winter transfer roundup

Both Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe are out, with Smith Rowe unable to recover from the groin injury that kept him out of the FA Cup match last weekend, and Odegaard a recent addition to the list after testing positive for COVID-19. That leaves Arsenal without a No. 10, with one of Gabriel Martinelli or Alexandre Lacazette moving centrally to take the place.

Another question for Mikel Arteta is who to start up front as the striker. Eddie Nketiah has been a go-to option in Cup games of recent past, but he was poor in the FA Cup loss to Nottingham Forest. However, with the thin attacking options, Nkeitah starts regardless of recent performances.

Arsenal projected starting lineup (4-2-3-1):  Ramsdale (GK) – Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tierney – Lokonga, Xhaka – Saka, Lacazette, Martinelli – Nketiah.

Arsenal subs:  Leno (GK), Holding, Mari, Chambers, Tavares, Patino, Salah-Eddine, Hutchinson, Biereth.

How to watch Liverpool vs. Arsenal

  • Date: Thursday, Jan. 13
  • Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
  • Streaming:  ESPN+ (subscribers only)

Thursday’s first-leg match between Liverpool and Arsenal from Anfield in the EFL Cup semifinals will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States.

Pre-match betting lines, picks & predictions

Pick:  Liverpool win & 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
  • Both teams to score: Yes -165 / No +125

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