Liverpool and Arsenal will go head-to-head for the third time this season when they meet at Anfield in the EFL Cup on Thursday at 7:45 PM.
Liverpool XI: Adrian; N. Williams, R. Williams, Van Dijk, Milner; Grujic, Jones, Wilson; Jota, Minamino, Salah
Arsenal XI: Leno; Cedric, Gabriel, Holding, Kolasinac; Willock, Xhaka; Pepe, Ceballos, Saka; Nketiah
It was Mikel Arteta’s side that ran out victorious in the first meeting of the campaign, beating the Reds 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to lift the Community Shield.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s side put in a dominant display earlier this week to beat the Gunners 3-1, with goals from Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and Diogo Jota enough to cancel out Alexandre Lacazette’s opener; the Frenchman himself missed a golden chance to level the score at 2-2 in the 63rd minute.
However, with both managers set to rotate their starting line-ups for this EFL Cup encounter, it really could be anyone’s game. If last season’s 5-5 draw (and 5-4 shootout win for Liverpool) between these two sides in the same competition is anything to go by, we could be in for an extremely exciting night of action.
Where to watch Liverpool vs Arsenal on TV:
- UK: Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Football
Where to live stream Liverpool vs Arsenal:
- UK: Sky Sports website or Sky Go app
- US: ESPN+
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*You have to be 18+ and Gamble Aware to sign up to Football Index.Liverpool & Arsenal’s previous line-ups:
- Liverpool (vs Arsenal): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
- Arsenal (vs Liverpool): Leno; Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Joel Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago are all still absent while Jordan Henderson is a doubt. Klopp is likely to make wholesale changes to the side which beat Arsenal 3-1 in the Premier League on Monday.
Arsenal are without Calum Chambers, Gabriel Martinelli, Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi and Emile Smith Rowe for their second trip to Anfield this week while Sokratis is also a doubt. Like Klopp, expect Arteta to ring the changes for this EFL Cup tie with new goalkeeper Alex Runarsson potentially making his debut.
Players to watch:
Liverpool: As was the case in the 7-2 thrashing over Lincoln City in the previous round, Klopp is likely to make a number of changes with one eye on this weekend’s Premier League trip to Aston Villa. That could mean another cup start for Takumi Minamino, who netted a brace at Sincil Bank last week and came on as a late substitute in Monday night’s win over Arsenal.
Minamino is becoming more and more exciting as a proposition with every performance but is yet to truly stamp his mark at Anfield. The Japan international will be hoping to replicate his exploits in the Lincoln mauling and start producing against more formidable opponents. With Diogo Jota scoring a debut league goal earlier this week, there will now be a greater emphasis on Minamino to take his opportunities when called upon. Although the two forwards occupy different positions in the final third, Klopp has a predilection for his established front three, and if anyone is to supplant one of Firmino, Salah or Mane. As such, Minamino will be relishing the chance to prove his worth against Arsenal and cause further selection problems (albeit welcomed) for his manager.
“Wow – what a desire!,” was Liverpool coach Pep Lijnders’ reaction when asked about Minamino by the Echo recently.
“He is somebody who turns our game collective as well, the same as what Roberto [Firmino] does.”
Arsenal: Having a club-record £72m transfer fee on your shoulders can be a heavy burden, and that has been the case so far at Arsenal for Nicolas Pepe. The Ivorian managed just five goals and six assists in the Premier League last season and is yet to start in the competition in 2020/21. However, he’s likely to come into the XI for this EFL Cup tie, just as he did against Leicester City in the previous round. And with Liverpool also set to rotate, it could be a great opportunity for Pepe to demonstrate his abilities to Arteta and stake his claim for a regular place in the Spaniard’s line-up.
The Ivorian certainly will not be overawed by the occasion, having played the full 90 minutes in Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Liverpool towards the end of the last season. He attempted more take-ons than any player in that Emirates showdown (six), and while not all proved successful, Arteta could benefit from having the unpredictability and dribbling confidence of Pepe on the pitch. Willian largely proved ineffective on Monday night, having taken the fewest touches of any player to start the match (18), so the inclusion of Pepe should bring a different flavour to Arteta’s attack.
Pepe is also enduring a testing time in the English game, but there have been enough flashes of quality to suggest the former Lille forward can yet flourish for Arsenal and vindicate his hefty price tag. Arteta will be looking for a response from Monday night’s largely underwhelming performance (goal and Lacazette chance aside), at least certainly from an attacking perspective.