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EFL Cup Preview: Arsenal and Liverpool battle for final spot

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The EFL Cup is back in action this week as Arsenal takes on Liverpool in a crucial semi-final clash at Emirates Stadium on Thursday with the tie-in balance.

This fixture should have been the first leg but the game was postponed, and now Arsenal holds the advantage – albeit a slim one – in the battle to face Chelsea in the final after claiming a 0-0 stalemate at Anfield last week.

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Arteta’s managed to keep the tie level despite losing Granit Xhaka to a red card midway through the first half. He is suspended for the second leg and Arsenal have four players away on African Cup of Nations duty, although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is no longer with the Gabon squad but remains unavailable.

EFL Cup Preview: Arsenal and Liverpool battle for final spot | The Konversation

However, the Gunners have seven others rated as doubtful, including Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, and Emile Smith-Rowe, but Liverpool also have a lengthy absentee list. Arsenal had their game against Tottenham Hotspur rescheduled and will want to step up this week.

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Liverpool, on the other hand, are missing Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita due to the African Cup of Nations. The Merseyside giants have 5 further absentees and their attacking options have been hit further by a knee injury to Divock Origi, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also expected to miss out with an ankle issue.

The Reds head into this encounter on the back of a 3-0 win over Brentford at Anfield on Sunday. The win moves Jürgen Klopp’s men second on the Premier League table and will be confident ahead of this blockbuster clash.

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Arsenal vs Liverpool Head-to-Head

The Reds have a slight edge over Arsenal and have won 92 out of 235 matches played between the two sides. Arsenal have managed 82 victories against Liverpool and will want to cut the deficit in this fixture.

Their most recent meeting took place in the first leg last week and ended in a 0-0 stalemate. The Gunners held Liverpool at bay on the day and will want to take it up a notch on Thursday.

Arsenal Team News

Nicolas Pepe, Thomas Partey, and Mohamed Elneny are on international duty and won’t be unavailable for selection. Whiles Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Emile Smith Rowe are also doubtful for this fixture Granit Xhaka, who was sent off in the first leg of the EFL Cup and is suspended for this encounter with Sead Kolasinac, Cedric Soares are out injured.

EFL Cup Preview: Arsenal and Liverpool battle for final spot | The Konversation

Liverpool Team News

Jurgen Klopp will have to do without the African trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita this week. Thiago Alcantara and Divock Origi are injured and have also been ruled out of this fixture.

Teenage sensation Harvey Elliot just returned to training and won’t be considered with Alex Ox Chamberlain highly rated to miss out due to knock during the Brentford win.

Key Stats

  • This is the 14th different League Cup tie between Arsenal and Liverpool, with each side winning/progressing six times each in the previous 12. It’s the most played fixture in the history of the competition.
  • This is the third consecutive season Arsenal and Liverpool have met in the League Cup, with both sides progressing once each via penalties (Liverpool in 2019-20, Arsenal in 2020-21). It’s the first time two top-flight clubs have met in three consecutive campaigns in the competition since Coventry vs Nottingham Forest between 1988-89 and 1990-91.
  • The last five League Cup meetings between Arsenal and Liverpool have produced a total of 28 goals, despite the fourth round tie last season finishing 0-0.
  • Liverpool have lost just one of their eight home games against Arsenal in the League Cup (W4 D3), going down 6-3 in January 2007 with Julio Baptista scoring four times for the Gunners.
  • Under Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool have scored more goals against Arsenal in all competitions (43) than they have vs any other opponent.
  • Arsenal have progressed from three of their past four League Cup semi-final ties. However, no side have been eliminated at this stage of the competition more often than the Gunners (7, level with Man Utd, Spurs and West Ham).
  • Liverpool have only been eliminated from five of their 17 League Cup semi-final ties. However, two of those have been in their last three appearances at this stage, falling to Chelsea in 2014-15 and Southampton in 2016-17.
  • Arsenal are the highest scorers in this season’s EFL Cup with 16 goals, while no player has scored more in this season’s competition than Gunners striker Eddie Nketiah (5). Indeed, Nketiah has scored 10 goals in nine appearances in the competition overall, scoring once on average every 66 minutes.
  • Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino has scored six goals in his five appearances in the League Cup, netting once every 75 minutes on average in the competition. However, the only game in which the Japanese forward failed to find the net was against Arsenal last season.
  • Diogo Jota has scored five goals in his last seven appearances against Arsenal in all competitions, with four of those strikes coming in his four games against them for Liverpool.

Klopp’s side have an important run of fixtures in the coming weeks and will need to make the most of their impressive squad. The likes of Minamino and Jota have stepped up in Mohamed Salah’s absence and will need to make their mark this week. They are in better shape at the moment and hold the upper hand going into this match.

 

 

 

 

 

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Kayson Papa Nketsiah Jr

He aims to create something brilliant daily. Eager to learn more. He uses his free time to get better at what interests him, whether it's entertainment, gaming, or even something entirely new

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