Liverpool vs Arsenal
| Tuesday, January 13th |
Carabao Cup | Anfield
7:45PM BST / 2:45PM EST
Assuming no further Arsenal players are ruled out due to covid and the game can go ahead as planned, Liverpool will look to maximise their home field advantage in this first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final, the point at which fans consider getting invested in the competition.
Nothing is for certain during this farcical handling of the omicron outbreak, least of all whether a football game will go ahead as intended, but if tomorrow’s match is indeed played, it appears as though the Reds will be taking on a depleted Gunners side, as Mikel Arteta’s team are reportedly struggling with a large number of positive covid tests to go with the usual assemblage of injuries and AfCoN absences. In short, all the stuff Liverpool were going through last week when the collective footballing world screamed that they must be cheating and lying, and stealing, also, probably.
Anyway, we’ll see what kind of team Arteta puts out there, but Arsenal are in a good run of form, albeit on the back of players that may not be able to feature at all tomorrow.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Jones; Minamino, Firmino, Jota
For the Reds, there’s always a question about how committed they are to the competition, but at this stage, one would expect Jürgen Klopp to field his best squad, and with Trent Alexander-Arnold back in training, the backline should feature all the regular starters, including Virgil van Dijk, Joël Matip and Andrew Robertson.
Naby Keïta is in Cameroon and Thiago remains injured, but Fabinho is available and is expected to feature alongside two of Jordan Henderson, Curtis Jones, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Up top there are gaps, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané both fighting for glory at the African Cup of Nations, so Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino should start, and with Divock Origi missing out, a first Liverpool Premier League start in over a year could be on the cards for Takumi Minamino.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “I think they improved a lot between then and now, even when they were already good then. We just played a really good game against them and that’s the team we will face, so that’s a tricky draw.”
Mikel Arteta: “I always have hope when I play and when I’m competing for any trophy. They have a couple of players out, we certainly have a lot out as well. It is what it is. We’re going to have to go there to try to win the first match because it’s going to put us in a better position for the second one.“
Referee: It’s a mystery!
Kickoff is set for 7:45PM GMT/2:45PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.