Liverpool showed superb resilience to remain in the game then snatch victory against Arsenal.
Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool
FA Cup Third Round, Emirates Stadium
Sunday, 7 January 2024
Kiwior (OG) 80′ (assist: Alexander-Arnold)
Diaz 90+4 (assist: Jota)
Liverpool’s bench had an average age of 20.4 years, with squad depth severely lacking due to 10 players being ruled out.
The home side started well on top and Martin Odegaard hit the bar in the 11th minute after a vital block from Ibrahima Konate, somehow Liverpool survived.
The Reds, in their purple away kit, didn’t have a shot in the opening 20 minutes, but Darwin Nunez failed to put a free header on target from a corner with the first effort in the 22nd minute.
That remained Liverpool’s only effort until the stroke of half time when Alexander-Arnold rattled the bar with a lovely strike – it would have been a goal massively against the run of play!
Goalless at the break, Arsenal having had 13 shots and plenty of very good chances.
Half time: Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool
A tactical change at the interval saw Elliott drop back into midfield, with Diaz moving to right wing, Nunez to left wing and Gakpo to centre-forward.
Liverpool looked more dangerous in attack at the start of the half, Diaz should have done better with one chance, then Nunez cut inside from the left and put an effort close.
The game became quite end to end at times and certainly opened up as both teams pushed to win it and avoid the unwanted replay.
Liverpool broke with Nunez but he somehow messed up the pass to Diaz and wasted what was a superb chance.
Two surprise subs with 15 minutes to go saw youngsters Conor Bradley and Bobby Clark introduced, with Alexander-Arnold moving into midfield. It was a brave move from Klopp, who showed his trust in the duo.
Diaz forced a good save soon after, then Jota headed onto the bar, then Nunez blazed wide.
Then came the breakthrough. Alexander-Arnold’s superb free-kick was headed into his own net by Arsenal defender Kiwior.
Liverpool were superb, and added the icing on the cake in stoppage time when Diaz rifled into the top corner after good work by Jota.
Victory means Liverpool will be in the fourth round, which will be on the final weekend of January. The draw takes place on Monday evening.
It also means the Reds keep their mini winter break in tact, with 10 days without a game after Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final first league.
TIA Man of the Match: Ibrahima Konate
Referee: John Brooks
Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior; Jorginho, Rice, Odegaard; Saka, Nelson, Havertz
Subs: Raya, Cedric, Walters, Sousa, Smith Rowe, Nwaneri, Trossard, Martinelli, Nketiah
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Quansah, Gomez; Mac Allister (Gravenberch 59′), Gakpo (Jota 59′), Jones (Clark 75′); Elliott (Bradley 75′), Diaz, Nunez
Subs not used: Kelleher, Chambers, McConnell, Nyoni, Gordon