We react to Liverpool’s League Cup victory over Arsenal and give you a chance to vote for Man of the Match.
Arsenal 0 – 2 Liverpool
Reds: Jota 19’, 77’
It’s an exciting line-up from Jurgen Klopp, with the most notable addition being barely 17-year-old Kaide Gordon to the attacking trio of Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino. Further back we have a midfield three of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, and Curtis Jones. Further back still we have our strongest possible back four: Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, and Robertson. And Kelleher is back between the sticks.
Let’s do these, Redmen!
The match already appears to be livelier than the last match ever threatened to be. The hosts start on the front foot, and Lacazette tests Kelleher with a free kick from a dangerous area, but Liverpool’s backup keeper appears to just tip it onto the bar! Arsenal are coming out swinging, but if Liverpool can ride out this early period of pressure, they should benefit as the match wears on.
Liverpool create their first big chance in the 13th minute from a corner. Joel Matip taps in a nodded down header from a corner, but he’s correctly judged to be offside. Still a good response from the yellow-clad Reds.
GOAL! Diogo Jota gives Liverpool the early lead with a brilliant mazy run through roughly the entire Arsenal midfield and defense. Alexander-Arnold might technically get the assist, but Jota did all the work and then some. The finish isn’t the best, but it’s placed well enough that Ramsey has no chance. Or maybe he would have a better chance if he were a better keeper. Regardless, 1-0 to the Reds.
To their credit, Liverpool managed to see out the rest of the half without much of note happening. Arsenal have come out of their shell, but Liverpool have handled the pressure well so far. Although we’re all super excited to see much more from Gordon, he’s not managed to get much of a foothold in the proceedings and might end up being an early sub from Kloppo. It’s fair enough that a 17-year-old struggles with the pace of a cup semifinal on the road!
Klopp makes a halftime sub: Konaté for Matip. Hope Matip hasn’t picked up a knock, and if so, hopefully it’s more precautionary than anything.
Once again, the home side starts the half by applying loads of pressure. Lacazette fluffs a good 1-v-1 chance, and the reds are finding it difficult to get out of their own half. That is until Jota decides to do it on his own again, and tees up Gordon. Unfortunately the youngster also fluffs his chance, and the game remains in the balance.
The match has gone from one-sided to absolutely frenetic as it approaches the hour mark. Arsenal’s press is intense, and Liverpool are struggling to live with it at times. The question will be: who will tire first?
Close! Konaté gets a free header from a corner, beats the keeper, but rattles the effort off the far post. That would’ve been a hell of a way to open his Liverpool account! A moment later, Minamino comes on for Gordon.
With a quarter of an hour remaining, Klopp brings on James Milner for captain Jordan Henderson. The match remains nervy, with both sides looking dangerous. Hopefully he can help cool things down.
GOAL!! It’s a goal by Jota that’s even more brilliant than the first! He just keeps his run onside—it’s initially flagged as off, but overturned by VAR—chests down a brilliant bass from Trent, and chips the onrushing keeper!
Klopp brings off Bobby for Neco Williams.
As we approach the 90 minute mark, Arsenal receive their second red card of the two-legged tie. Partey gets both yellows in the space of 3 minutes, though honestly the second could have been a straight red. Arsenal lead the league in red cards since Arteta has arrived, and from the tackles we’ve seen come in, this is a feature not a bug.
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
It wasn’t easy going by any means, but the gulf in class—particularly between Jota and everyone else—helped Liverpool get this one over the line. Regardless of what else happens this season, Liverpool will play in a final at Wembley, which we should never take for granted.