10 key things to know ahead of Arsenal vs. Liverpool

The Reds are vying for their first cup final appearance at Wembley since 2016 and they’ll need to have their goalscoring boots to do so when they arrive at the Emirates.

Liverpool were handed a valuable and needed confidence boost with their 3-0 win over Brentford on the weekend, and now it’s all about securing a place at Wembley.

It was a goalless and lacklustre affair in the first leg and the Reds will need the recent conviction they showed in front of goal if they are to have their first shot at silverware in February.

Here are 10 key things to know ahead of the finely poised tie.


1. The Arsenal situation

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 13, 2022: Arsenal's manager Mikel Arteta during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. The game ended 0-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This fixture has long been cast in doubt as Arsenal battle with injuries, suspensions, Covid and AFCON absences, all of which led to the north London derby being postponed over the weekend.

Tottenham asked for “clarity and consistency” in response as only one positive Covid test was reported prior to the Gunners’ request for a postponement.

Sanctioning loans for Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Folarin Balogun only decreased their numbers further, with Pablo Mari set to follow and Sead Kolasinac simply let go of, one can understand the frustration.

At the end of the day, the Premier League created the loophole but just how many players does Mikel Arteta have to select for this tie?


2. Who could be in their XI?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 13, 2022: Arsenal's Granit Xhaka walks off after being shown a red card and sent off during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Arteta was closed off as to who he could call upon, saying “I don’t want to give anything away. There are issues, and issues that have not been resolved.”

The Gunners have prepared for the game to go ahead but the Arsenal manager was left to say he “hopes there is no more news” on Thursday that would say otherwise, although he did confirm no further Covid cases.

Granit Xhaka remains suspended while Emile Smith Rowe, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Martin Odegaard remain doubtful for the clash, while midfield absentees could see Ben White moved up the pitch.

Possible Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; White, Lokonga; Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli; Lacazette


3. Liverpool’s ins and outs

It’s more a case of who is not going to feature and that list extends to Thiago, Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The trio are in the treatment room but the hope is that Oxlade-Chamberlain is back in contention for Sunday’s trip to Crystal Palace, the No. 6 for Cardiff’s Anfield visit while Origi will be after that FA Cup tie.

Harvey Elliott has returned to team training but it is far too soon despite showing “immediately what he’s about,” with time needed to get him back to being ‘team fit’.

While Curtis Jones and Joel Matip were notable absentees from Tuesday’s training, no new concerns for Liverpool were reported.


4. How could the Reds lineup?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 2, 2022: Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher walks out before the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With all but Oxlade-Chamberlain to select from the squad that was available to face Brentford, Klopp does still have options at his disposal.

One of the big questions will be who gets the nod in goal, as while the boss stated that it was Caomhin Kelleher’s competition, Lijnders was a little coyer on the topic.

It all relies on how strong Liverpool will go with a trip back to London to meet Palace coming less than three days later, meaning the likes of Ibrahima Konate and Kostas Tsimikas are in with a shout.

Predicted Liverpool XI: Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Henderson, Jones; Jota, Minamino, Firmino


5. Chelsea await the victor

Having concluded their two-leg tie last week, Liverpool knows that should they make it to the final they will meet Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.

They ran out as 3-0 victors across the two games against Tottenham to book a spot at Wembley on February 27, now for the Reds to do the same!


6. Time to make it 2 from 5!

LONDON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, July 14, 2020: Arsenal players give Champions Liverpool a guard of honour during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Emirates has not been too kind in the form of victories for Liverpool under Klopp, with just one in the last four visits – that being the last trip in April.

That was a dominant 3-0 victory and another would not go amiss this time around.

There have been plenty of goals between the two teams at the Emirates, however, with 26 since 2015 in all competitions.

This is the deciding match and you wouldn’t bet against a bit of drama where these two clubs are concerned!


7. Wembley is the goal

Pep Lijnders was insistent that there is only one objective for Thursday night, and that’s landing the club in the final at Wembley:

“We know what we want. It’s clear now that we need to win and that’s good. If it’s 90 minutes, 120 or with penalties, we need to win this game.

“When we start the season we always speak about that we want to create memories, create them with fans and have special games.

“It’s good that we are in January and we speak about reaching finals, and reaching Wembley. We’re going to try with everything we have to reach Wembley, to compete there.”


8. Did you know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 22, 2021: Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher prepares for the penalty shoot-out during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 5-4 on penalties after a 3-3 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In the 22 League Cup games under Jurgen Klopp, a total of 79 different players have been used.

Alisson was the latest to add his name to the list after making his competition debut in the first leg, making him one of six goalkeepers to feature under Klopp in the League Cup.

Question is, could you recall the names of all 79 players? Well, you can test yourself here to find out!


9. Atkinson takes charge

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 19, 2019: Referee Martin Atkinson during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is Martin Atkinson that takes charge of this encounter – was that an audible groan we hear?

It wouldn’t be surprising as the words, “I couldn’t stand him” always come to mind when Atkinson is revealed as Liverpool’s match official. Steven Gerrard summed it up aptly.

He is in charge of his sixth game between the two teams – Liverpool have won only one of those.


10. The rights are with Sky

Emirates Stadium General Outside. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The scene is set and Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football is the place to tune in for those of you in the UK, with coverage starting at 7pm ahead of the 7.45pm (GMT) kickoff.

This Is Anfield also provides an extensive worldwide TV and streaming information package on matchday if you’re one of our global readers!

But better than that, our matchday liveblog provides all the biased commentary you could ever want and Dan Clubbe will be the one in charge and will keep you entertained from 7pm!