After a tense and thrilling first leg ended scoreless, Arsenal and Liverpool meet Thursday at the Emirates to decide the second EFL Cup finalist.
Chelsea has already booked its spot at Wembley with an emphatic & dominant two-leg showing over Tottenham, but this semifinal has provided far more parity.
After Granit Xhaka was sent to the showers with a straight red card before the half-hour mark last week, Arsenal had a genuine battle on its hands, but managed to see out the match without conceding. The Gunners calmly and collectively stymied Liverpool despite the Reds’ man advantage, leaving the series winner still to be determined.
Arsenal faces an uphill battle with a depleted squad which required last weekend’s North London Premier League derby against Tottenham to be controversially postponed. Still, the Gunners have a few players now available for selection, allowing this Carabao Cup semifinal decider to proceed.
Should the match remain level after the 90 minutes of regulation, it would head to extra time and penalties, per Carabao Cup rules (regulation 14.5).
Sporting News will be following the match live and providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.
Arsenal vs. Liverpool live score
(All times Eastern)
12th minute: Liverpool’s first chance in the attack comes to nothing as Fabinho’s pass out wide left is poor despite the Arsenal defense appearing to open up. Just not happening for the Reds at all across these two legs. Plenty of time to turn it around, which they nearly do as the Reds’ first corner is in the back of the net, but Joel Matip is offside.
8th minute: Arsenal has started as the better side, and Martinelli has been the early star, giving Alexander-Arnold plenty of trouble. The Gunners with another push forward but Kelleher is fouled trying to challenge a cross. This is a worry for Liverpool. Odegaard has also started well, pushed back into a deeper role than he usually plays.
Odegaard already purring as a number 6 in this system. His versatility often goes under the radar.
— Mark Mann-Bryans (@MarkyMBryans) January 20, 2022
5th minute: CHANCE, Arsenal! Joel Matip with a bad giveaway sees Saka fouled on the edge of the area. A very dangerous free-kick for Arsenal at the top of the penalty area, and Lacazette clangs it off the crossbar! Hard to tell if Kelleher got a touch before it hit the woodwark, but either way, VERY close.
Lively start from Arsenal, pressing Liverpool back. Free-kick now right on the edge of the area after Saka was tripped. Lacazette and Odegaard are over it.
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) January 20, 2022
3rd minute: Arsenal with a few half-chances to start as they earn a pair of successive corners. It comes to nothing as Kelleher ends up with the ball. Give Gabriel Martinelli credit for his bright creativity in the move.
1st minute: Under way! Very full-strength team for Arsenal given the North London Derby was postponed just days ago. The home fans love it.
2:38 p.m.: Liverpool out for warmups. A number of young players feature in the Reds’ lineup.
2:29 p.m.: This was a stat we shared during the first leg as well, and while it didn’t have an effect on that match, we still know how much Jurgen Klopp loves to play Arsenal.
2:03 p.m.: These two sides are looking to break a deadlock against each other in EFL Cup play.
Arsenal and Liverpool have met each other 12 times previously in the League Cup with both sides progressing on six occasions.#ARSLIV
— Orbinho (@Orbinho) January 20, 2022
1:53 p.m.: Lineups are in, full lineups below. Apparently, Thomas Partey DID get a cab straight to the Emirates, as the Ghana midfielder shockingly makes the bench for the match today.
17-year-old Kaide Gordon starts for Liverpool, with Curtis Jones also in midfield. It’s a big chance for Liverpool youngsters.
1:36 p.m.: Ben White, the hero of the first leg for the Gunners, adorns the matchday program at the Emirates.
1:32 p.m.: Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is back from the Africa Cup of Nations thanks to lesions on his heart stemming from a bout with COVID-19, and therefore unable to participate tonight, out indefinitely. That hasn’t stopped teams from showing interest in the Gabon interenational, however. Those teams bidding will be bouyed by Aubameyang’s belief that he is “totally fine.”
As first reported by @skysports_sheth — Marseille, PSG and AC Milan are among the clubs who have expressed an interest in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. So far the only bid has come from Al Nassr, as revealed yesterday. No response yet from Arsenal to it.
— James Benge (@jamesbenge) January 20, 2022
1:28 p.m.: The lights are on at the Emirates, which sets the stage for tonight’s high-profile Cup matchup.
1:00 p.m.: In case you were wondering, Thomas Partey won’t be making this game, but he is in contention for the weekend after Ghana was eliminated.
#afc Thomas Partey is back in London and hoping to play against Burnley on Sunday.
Don’t expect him to be getting a cab from the airport straight to the Emirates for the Liverpool game, though.https://t.co/J1gniJsm8l
— Simon Collings (@sr_collings) January 20, 2022
Arsenal vs. Liverpool lineups
While Arsenal has enough players available to give the match a green light, the squad news still makes for anxious reading.
Granit Xhaka is suspended for his red card in the first leg, while both Sead Kolasinac and Pablo Mari have departed the club in the past few days. Thomas Partey played 90 minutes just two days ago as Ghana was eliminated earlier than expected from the Africa Cup of Nations, but he shockingly makes the bench for the Gunners. Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe continue their participation in the tournament. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has returned from the AFCON competition but is out indefinitely after a COVID-19 bout left him with cardiac issues.
Then comes the lengthy list of players with unknown availability status. Bukayo Saka, one of the heroes of the first leg, took a knock towards the end of the match but returns to start. Martin Odegaard also makes the starting lineup despite only just returning from his COVID-19 isolation.
Takehiro Tomiyasu, Cedric, Calum Chambers, and Emile Smith Rowe all faced late fitness tests to determine how ready they are to play. Chambers and Cedric do not appear in the squad, but Tomiyasu and Smith Rowe both start in a boost to the Gunners. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno misses out with a back injury, with Aaron Ramsdale starting and young academy product Karl Hein on the bench.
Arsenal starting lineup (3-5-2): Ramsdale (GK) — Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney – Smith Rowe, Lokonga, Odegaard – Saka, Martinelli, Lacazette.
Arsenal subs (9): Hein, Holding, Alebiosu, Tavares, Partey, Patino, Salah-Eddine, Nkeitah, Biereth.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has a number of questions to answer after the failure of failing to build an aggregate lead in the first leg. The midfield, without AFCON participant Naby Keita, was horrendously static, while the absence of AFCON duo Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah up front was all too plain to see.
Thiago and Nat Phillips remain sidelined for long-term injuries, and while Harvey Elliott and Divock Origi have returned to training from their ailments, it’s still too early for either to participate.
The biggest question for Klopp will come in midfield, with James Milner ineffective in the first leg of this matchup. He is replaced by Curtis Jones, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain not even appearing among the substitutes after suffering an ankle injury against Brentford. Takumi Minamino gives way on the flank in favor of young Kaide Gordon, who makes his second EFL Cup start this season at just 17 years old.
Liverpool projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Kelleher (GK) — Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson — Henderson, Fabinho, Jones – Gordon, Firmino, Jota.
Liverpool subs (9): Alisson (GK), Adrian (GK), Konate, Milner, Gomez, Minamino, Tsimikas, Williams, Morton.
How to watch Arsenal vs. Liverpool
- Date: Thursday, Jan. 20
- Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: — None —
- Streaming: ESPN+ (subscription required)
The Arsenal vs. Liverpool second leg is exclusively avaliable on ESPN streaming platform ESPN+ at 2:45 p.m. ET. The winner of the match will advance to face Chelsea in the final on Feb. 27.
If the match ends in a draw after 90 minutes, extra time and, if necessary, a penalty-kick shootout will be used to determine a winner.
Arsenal-Liverpool betting lines, pick & prediction
Pick: Arsenal or Tie (Double Chance) and Under 2.5
Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool (Liverpool through on penalties)
- Moneyline: Arsenal +285 / Draw +275 / Liverpool -105
- Spread: Liverpool -0.5 (-105) / Arsenal +0.5 (-105)
- O/U 2.5 total goals: Over -125 / Under +105
- Both teams to score: Yes -150 / No +115