The game that was postponed due to Liverpool’s fears of a covid outbreak, now goes ahead, albeit with the fixture locations reversed.
After a very disappointing weekend in the FA Cup, Arsenal will now look to regroup in this League Cup semi final. The loss at Nottingham Forest (on Sunday) came after a good spell for the gunners, and with domestic cups their only real chance of silverware, Thursdays game now becomes vital.
Arsenal currently only have one covid case reported, and it is unknown Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be back in time to be involved.
Gabriel dos Santos Magalhaes returns to bring huge relief, with his suspension now ending, and the hope will be that both Emile Smith-Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu have recovered from their respective injuries. Former captain Granit Xhaka and Folarin Balogun have both been out with illness, and should likely return to the first team squad.
With the African Cup of Nations stripping both sides of players, Arsenal will continue to be without Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe. Liverpool will also be without three AFCON involved players, with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keïta all involved for their own countries.
The frequent raft of isolations sees most players return for Liverpool, with Trent Alexander-Arnold currently the only confirmed new case. As with both teams, there’s every chance that further confirmed cases could see players become unavailable.
Mikel Arteta and Jürgen Klopp had a heated moment the last time they met, and Liverpool will be hoping that spice can be reinvented this Thursday evening. Klopp will be looking at both this weekends game against Brentford, as well as this semi final, when picking his side. The limitations of his squad still sees young Harvey Elliott sidelined with injury still, with a return date still unknown. Divock Injury remains out, as does Thiago Alcantara. Alisson Becker may return between the posts, after his own spell in isolation ends.
In what promises to be a highly entertaining game, the structure of each side will surely be disjointed with the current climate. With the two legs at hand, expect Arsenal to remain compact and not be drawn into a punch for punch brawl. Liverpool will be looking to raise the tempo, rally the crowd and create a harsh atmosphere for their visitors. With both sides bringing in players from the fringes, expect chances and expect goals.
Player to watch – Diogo Jota
Liverpool 3 – 1 Arsenal