Liverpool’s commanding 2-0 win over Arsenal was lauded by the watching media, who singled out Diogo Jota as “one of the English game’s finest goalscorers.”
After failing to break down 10 men last week, there was still a job to do at the Emirates, but Jurgen Klopp‘s men made light work of their opponents.
Jota’s solo effort put Liverpool 1-0 up before half-time and he added a second after the break, finishing nonchalantly past Aaron Ramsdale.
It means the Reds have reached just their second domestic cup final under Klopp, with League Cup glory on offer against Chelsea on February 27.
Here’s a look at how the media reacted to Liverpool’s triumph.
An imperious, dominant performance was praised by some…
The Independent‘s Miguel Delaney highlighted the one-sided nature of Liverpool’s win:
“A match that finally took place, but there was no actual contest. Arsenal, it could be argued, still didn’t really play.
“Liverpool reached a fifth cup final of Jurgen Klopp’s time, and the first in this competition in six years, by comfortably beating Mikel Arteta’s side 2-0 in the League Cup semi-final second leg. This one wasn’t about false positives but false advertising.
“It just wasn’t the game that was billed, and certainly didn’t live up the enjoyable chaos that the competition’s semi-finals often offer.”
“A side without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane just showed Arsenal how it’s done, giving a semi-final occasionally clouded by an acrimonious atmosphere a muted finish.”
John Cross of the Mirror gave a Covid-focused assessment, praising the Reds’ superior quality:
“Even a weekend break was not enough to recharge Arsenal’s batteries.
“Liverpool won the Covid derby, settled arguments over sick notes once and for all and took Jurgen Klopp’s winning machine back to Wembley.
“The truth is that Arsenal do not belong in that company yet, barely turned up for the second leg, and every time you think Mikel Arteta’s men are closing the gap they have a setback. Liverpool were just too good.”
Paul Gorst of the Liverpool Echo hailed the ease at which Klopp’s team progressed, making Arsenal fans look foolish in the process:
“No Mane, no Salah, no problem; Liverpool are heading to Wembley. And in some style, too.
“Arsenal fans left Anfield last week celebrating like their place in the Carabao Cup final was already safe after a dour goalless affair on Merseyside.
“‘We’re going to Wembley!’ they cooed as they started the journey back down south, clearly believing that this second leg was a foregone conclusion.
“Diogo Jota, though, had other ideas here at the Emirates.”
There was lots of admiration for Jota and Alexander-Arnold…
The Mirror‘s Darren Wells lauded Jota, who now has 27 goals in 41 starts and is producing without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane around:
“The Portuguese forward duly stepped up to the plate for his side, bagging two hugely important goals.
“With Roberto Firmino dropping deep to link-up play, it was a surprise to see Alexander-Arnold both so high up and so central for Liverpool’s opener when their defence were still almost on their 18-yard line.
“Arsenal had enough men back to deal with the danger, but once Jota received the ball from his teammate and skipped inside Takehiro Tomiyasu, you sensed there would be only one outcome.
“It was a similar scenario when Jota got in for Liverpool’s second, showing his cool to lift the ball over Ramsdale and settle the tie – albeit after a VAR review.
“That says a lot about the confidence Jota is brimming with at the moment and he was Liverpool’s dangerman all night, showing there may be life after Salah and Mane yet.”
The Telegraph‘s Sam Wallace was also left hugely impressed by the Portuguese:
“This was a night for Diogo Jota to demonstrate why he is one of the English game’s finest goalscorers – even in the absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane there was no question that the finishing from Liverpool was of the finest quality.
“That was a brilliant finish for his second from Jota, first ruled out and then passed by VAR while the stadium waited. The assistant Lee Betts had raised his flag in the aftermath but the grainy stills from Stockley Park told another story and when the lines were drawn Jota was onside.
“There were just two touches, one to take the ball from Alexander-Arnold and another to lift it gently over the advancing Ramsdale. The Portuguese attacker is a very fine footballer.”
James Gheerbrant of the Times also threw Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s influence into the mix, following two assists:
“Two goals, scored and created by the brilliant duo of Diogo Jota and Trent Alexander-Arnold, settled the contest after Arsenal’s fine rearguard effort in the goalless first leg.
“Arsenal’s recent form has rightly engendered optimism, Liverpool’s a little disappointment, but here Jürgen Klopp’s team played with control, composure and quality, and demonstrated the gap that Arsenal have still to bridge.
“Alexander-Arnold was availing himself of his full quiver of passes, firing a lovely low ball which split the channel between Gabriel and Tierney and sprung Fabinho loose.”
The importance of another trophy was focused on by others…
This Is Anfield feel reaching another domestic final has been long overdue:
“So Liverpool are heading to Wembley – and we’ll be hoping to beat Chelsea for our first League Cup triumph in 10 years.
“2012, Kenny Dalglish: that was the last time we won a trophy which used to be our personal domain. If we pick up our ninth triumph, the record haul will be ours alone once more.
“We’ve been back to a final since then of course, when penalties denied us, and in another losing final it feels we owe Chelsea one – the Gerrard own goal final.
“This team should have more silverware already, let’s be honest. So don’t be smug about the fact it’s the smallest domestic trophy – let’s go win the damn thing.”
Wallace thinks Klopp will be desperate to clinch more glory, in order to create a genuine dynasty at Anfield:
“Liverpool managers are judged ultimately upon the trophies they have won and while Jurgen Klopp has much bigger pots at home than the one currently known as the Carabao Cup, his team find themselves one final away from another trophy in a season where the league title is slipping away.
“For Liverpool it will be Wembley on Feb 27 and a final against Chelsea. For Arsenal it is a case of too few midfield generals with Thomas Partey now suspended for the weekend after picking up two yellows card within 16 minutes of coming on as a substitute in the second half.”
Finally, Ian Ladyman of the Mail was another who stressed the importance of silverware next month:
“Jurgen Klopp has brought Liverpool far greater glories than anything available in this competition but an appearance in a domestic cup final should be cherished on Merseyside just the same.
“It is one of the modern game’s strange anomalies that Liverpool have won just one Wembley cup final in the last 15 years.
“In that time, the Manchester clubs have won 12 between them and last night’s beaten opponents have won four. So a success is overdue for Liverpool and now, against Chelsea next month, they will have the opportunity.
“They deserve their place too and will probably start that game as slight favourites.”