Liverpool welcome Arsenal to Anfield in the first leg of their blockbuster semi-final tie in 2021-22 Carabao Cup.
Victory for either team would see them take a first leg lead into the second leg at Arsenal next week, with the winners set to face Chelsea in the Final at Wembley Stadium next month.
Embed from Getty Images
Alisson and Trent Alexander-Arnold are fully match fit for Liverpool after recovering from Coronavirus.
Andrew Robertson (knock) could also feature but Thiago Alcantara (hip), Divock Origi (knee), Nathaniel Phillips (cheekbone) and Harvey Elliott (ankle) are ruled out through various injuries.
Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita are away on international duty) with Senegal, Egypt and Guinea respectively.
Arsenal could welcome Gabriel back into the line-up after he missed Sunday’s FA Cup exit at Nottingham Forest through suspension.
Granit Xhaka (illness), Takehiro Tomiyasu (muscle) and Emile Smith Rowe (groin) are in contention to return.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Nicholas Pepe are all away at Africa Cup of Nations on international duty for individual countries.
- Liverpool have avoided defeat in 10 of 16 previous League Cup meetings against Arsenal excluding penalty shootouts (W5, D6, L5).
- Arsenal have won just one of their last five League Cup visits to Anfield excluding penalty shootouts (W1, D2, L2).
- Both teams have scored in four of their last five clashes in this competition with the only exception coming in a goalless draw last season, which Arsenal eventually won on penalties.
- Three of Takumi Minamino’s four goals in this competition for Liverpool this season have been scored after half-time.
- Four of Eddie Nketiah’s five Carabao Cup goals for Arsenal this season have been scored after half-time.
Having rested several regulars against Shrewsbury in the FA Cup, Liverpool should be back to full strength and raring to cause more issues but without Mane and Salah, this is a huge task for Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Minamino to step up and deliver up top.
Arsenal meanwhile were fairly lifeless in their FA Cup loss at Forest because their attack lacked intensity and the team defensively were outplayed on the flanks, whilst defenders were too aggressive at times so improvement is a must in this first leg.
On that note, I am hoping for a closely fought contest between two strong teams but if Liverpool can adapt quickly to not having Mane nor Salah within their regular team and score first, I can see them settling and extending Arsenal’s away woes at Anfield in this competition.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal