After a tense and thrilling first leg ended scoreless, Arsenal and Liverpool meet Thursday at the Emirates to decide the second EFL Cup finalist.
Chelsea has already booked its spot at Wembley with an emphatic & dominant two-leg showing over Tottenham, but this semifinal has provided far more parity.
After Granit Xhaka was sent to the showers with a straight red card before the half-hour mark last week, Arsenal had a genuine battle on its hands, but managed to see out the match without conceding. The Gunners calmly and collectively stymied Liverpool despite the Reds’ man advantage, leaving the series winner still to be determined.
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Arsenal faces an uphill battle with a depleted squad which required last weekend’s North London Premier League derby against Tottenham to be controversially postponed. Still, the Gunners have a few players now available for selection, allowing this Carabao Cup semifinal decider to proceed.
Should the match remain level after the 90 minutes of regulation, it would head to extra time and penalties, per Carabao Cup rules (regulation 14.5).
Sporting News will be following the match live and providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.
Arsenal vs. Liverpool live score
(All times Eastern)
1:53 p.m.: Lineups are in. Apparently, Thomas Partey DID get a cab straight to the Emirates, as the Ghana midfielder shockingly makes the bench for the match today.
17-year-old Kaide Gordon starts for Liverpool, with Curtis Jones also in midfield. It’s a big chance for Liverpool youngsters.
1:36 p.m.: Ben White, the hero of the first leg for the Gunners, adorns the matchday program at the Emirates.
1:32 p.m.: Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is back from the Africa Cup of Nations thanks to lesions on his heart stemming from a bout with COVID-19, and therefore unable to participate tonight, out indefinitely. That hasn’t stopped teams from showing interest in the Gabon interenational, however. Those teams bidding will be bouyed by Aubameyang’s belief that he is “totally fine.”
As first reported by @skysports_sheth — Marseille, PSG and AC Milan are among the clubs who have expressed an interest in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. So far the only bid has come from Al Nassr, as revealed yesterday. No response yet from Arsenal to it.
— James Benge (@jamesbenge) January 20, 2022
1:28 p.m.: The lights are on at the Emirates, which sets the stage for tonight’s high-profile Cup matchup.
1:00 p.m.: In case you were wondering, Thomas Partey won’t be making this game, but he is in contention for the weekend after Ghana was eliminated.
#afc Thomas Partey is back in London and hoping to play against Burnley on Sunday.
Don’t expect him to be getting a cab from the airport straight to the Emirates for the Liverpool game, though.https://t.co/J1gniJsm8l
— Simon Collings (@sr_collings) January 20, 2022
Arsenal vs. Liverpool lineups
While Arsenal has enough players available to give the match a green light, the squad news still makes for anxious reading.
Granit Xhaka is suspended for his red card in the first leg, while both Sead Kolasinac
and Pablo Mari have departed the club in the past few days. Thomas Partey played 90 minutes just two days ago as Ghana was eliminated earlier than expected from the Africa Cup of Nations, but he shockingly makes the bench for the Gunners. Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe continue their participation in the tournament. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has returned from the AFCON competition but is out indefinitely after a COVID-19 bout left him with cardiac issues.
Then comes the lengthy list of players with unknown availability status. Bukayo Saka, one of the heroes of the first leg, took a knock towards the end of the match but returns to start. Martin Odegaard also makes the starting lineup despite only just returning from his COVID-19 isolation.
Takehiro Tomiyasu, Cedric, Calum Chambers, and Emile Smith Rowe all faced late fitness tests to determine how ready they are to play. Chambers and Cedric do not appear in the squad, but Tomiyasu and Smith Rowe both start in a boost to the Gunners. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno misses out with a back injury, with Aaron Ramsdale starting and young academy product Karl Hein on the bench.
Arsenal starting lineup (3-5-2): Ramsdale (GK) — Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney – Smith Rowe, Lokonga, Odegaard – Saka, Martinelli, Lacazette.
Arsenal subs (9): Hein, Holding, Alebiosu, Tavares, Partey, Patino, Salah-Eddine, Nkeitah, Biereth.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has a number of questions to answer after the failure of failing to build an aggregate lead in the first leg. The midfield, without AFCON participant Naby Keita, was horrendously static, while the absence of AFCON duo Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah up front was all too plain to see.
Thiago and Nat Phillips remain sidelined for long-term injuries, and while Harvey Elliott and Divock Origi have returned to training from their ailments, it’s still too early for either to participate.
MORE: First leg as it happened – Arsenal and Liverpool play to tense draw
The biggest question for Klopp will come in midfield, with James Milner ineffective in the first leg of this matchup. He is replaced by Curtis Jones, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain not even appearing among the substitutes after suffering an ankle injury against Brentford. Takumi Minamino gives way on the flank in favor of young Kaide Gordon, who makes his second EFL Cup start this season at just 17 years old.
Liverpool projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Kelleher (GK) — Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson — Henderson, Fabinho, Jones – Gordon, Firmino, Jota.
Liverpool subs (9): Alisson (GK), Adrian (GK), Konate, Milner, Gomez, Minamino, Tsimikas, Williams, Morton.
How to watch Arsenal vs. Liverpool
- Date: Thursday, Jan. 20
- Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: — None —
- Streaming: ESPN+ (subscription required)
The Arsenal vs. Liverpool second leg is exclusively avaliable on ESPN streaming platform ESPN+ at 2:45 p.m. ET. The winner of the match will advance to face Chelsea in the final on Feb. 27.
If the match ends in a draw after 90 minutes, extra time and, if necessary, a penalty-kick shootout will be used to determine a winner.
Arsenal-Liverpool betting lines, pick & prediction
Pick: Arsenal or Tie (Double Chance) and Under 2.5
Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool (Liverpool through on penalties)
- Moneyline: Arsenal +285 / Draw +275 / Liverpool -105
- Spread: Liverpool -0.5 (-105) / Arsenal +0.5 (-105)
- O/U 2.5 total goals: Over -125 / Under +105
- Both teams to score: Yes -150 / No +115