Liverpool qualified for the Carabao Cup final with a 2-0 victory over Arsenal, courtesy of Diogo Jota. The Portuguese forward scored a brace in the Emirates Stadium as the Reds overcame a goalless stalemate in the first leg to reach the final at Wembley. The Reds will now face the Blues inside the EFL Cup final at Wembley on February 27th.
Thomas Partey received a 2nd yellow card inside the final minutes of the game, despite having entered the game in the 74th minute. The decision finished off a very miserable evening for Mikel Arteta’s side, who were brutally trounced by the visitors, despite a strong starting quarter of an hour. Liverpool survived well without icon Mohamed Salah once more following their 3-0 victory against the Bees at the weekend.
Highlights of Arsenal Defeat Against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup Semi-final Second Leg
The odds were heavily against Gunner’s side after conceding 43 goals in 16 meetings against Liverpool in all competitions since Klopp’s appointment. However, the home team got off to a better start. Bukayo Saka earned an early free-kick well beyond the area, and Alexandre Lacazette’s resulting attempt struck the post.
Liverpool had limited opportunities to press inside the first half but made the most of them.
In 13 minutes, the Reds had a goal disallowed for offside when Joel Matip headed past the hosts’ goalie – Aaron Ramsdale.
Liverpool took the lead quickly, with Jota being allowed too much room by the Arsenal defense on 19 minutes. From beyond the penalty box, he could find an angle and wobble the ball into the back of the net.
As the half unfolded, the home side looked forward to losing their hold on the contest, with their excellent early push gradually ebbing away. Lacazette had a fantastic opportunity to level the scores early in half but blasted his effort high and over the bar with only Caoimhin Kelleher to beat.
Martinelli looked threatening whenever he gained possession of the ball, but he possessed it infrequently out on the left flank. Nonetheless, he caught no less than Virgil Van Dijk off guard with a burst of speed in the 28th minute, and it took a precise block from Fabinho.
The more opportunities Liverpool missed in the second half, the more it appeared like Arsenal could still have a shot in the last cup competition on everyone’s wish list.
Liverpool nearly increased their advantage on the hour mark when Trent Alexander-Arnold fired a cross into the box.
Ibrahima Konate’s header struck the crossbar before Ramsdale dived to tip Jordan Henderson’s rebound attempt over the bar. However, early striker Jota finally scored Liverpool’s second following a lengthy VAR review.
On 77 minutes, Diogo Jota outwitted Ben White chipping the ball past Ramsdale to secure Liverpool’s victory. Jota has scored five and six goals versus Gunners in all competitions since joining Liverpool. That was a superb performance from Klopp’s team, and they will justifiably go to the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea next month.
Arsenal were reduced to ten men on 89 minutes after replacement Thomas Partey – who had arrived from Africa Cup of Nations action earlier that day – earned a second yellow card within 3 minutes of receiving his first. He came on from the bench for Emile Smith-Rowe after 74 minutes.
Two yellow cards in three minutes resulted in Thomas Partey being banned for the rest of the week. He played for 16 minutes in the second half as a replacement. Earlier this week, the Ghanaian midfielder had appeared for his country at Garoua, Cameroon, in a 3 – 2 loss to the Comoros Islands.
Arteta Handles a Growing Number of Disciplinary Concerns
The dismissal of Thomas Partey was the latest in a string of Gunner’s red cards.
As previously said, this marks the 14th consecutive defeat for the Gunners since the Spaniard took over, and it continues to leave them confronting an uphill battle in matches they should be contending in.
Arteta was asked following the match whether the disciplinary issues were concerning, to which he responded: “Yes, we’ve played three games with ten men.”
When this is the case, winning football matches at this level becomes incredibly tough.
“We’ll continue to do what we are doing, but I must add that there have been certain choices that didn’t happen when they were reversed, and today is another good example.”
What Comes Next?
Liverpool will now meet the Blues in the final on February 27th at Wembley Stadium, after the Blues defeated Tottenham 3-0 on aggregate in the second semi-final on February 20th.
Given Chelsea’s current run, Klopp and his team will undoubtedly be confident of victory. Still, Thomas Tuchel’s recent experience in playing finals may give his team the advantage in this match.