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Arsenal at Liverpool Carabao Cup semifinal: are we playing today?

The two-legged semifinal will finally get underway after Liverpool was granted a postponement last week.

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Arsenal Training Session Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal and Liverpool will finally get their Carabao Cup semifinal tie underway after the Reds were granted a postponement of what would have been the first leg at the Emirates last Thursday. Now, Liverpool have most of their squad available, and Arsenal are struggling with injuries and COVID-positives. It’s a funny little thing that despite facing a similar predicament, there hasn’t been any whinging or requests for a postponement coming out of North London in the run-up to today’s match.

Last week, Jurgen Klopp’s side claimed they would not have the requisite number of eligible players available for the match after a COVID outbreak and a rash of injuries at the club. For what it’s worth, Liverpool have had 30 different players on their matchday squads during the competition. As it turns out, all but Trent Alexander-Arnold’s results were “false positives” according to Klopp, and the Reds were able to play their weekend FA Cup match against Shrewsbury Town F.C. For a hot minute, it looked as if the EFL might investigate Liverpool’s strange batch of positive tests, but the powers that be are satisfied that they have plausible deniability and enough cover nothing nefarious took place

Chelsea are already through to the final after comfortably handling Tottenham 2-0 and 1-0.

There isn’t much to be said about the matchup itself that we don’t already know. Liverpool are quite good and have had Arsenal’s number, especially at Anfield, of late. We saw how disjointed a cobbled-together Gunners lineup looked against Nottingham Forest, and I’m concerned it could be more of the same today. Against an significantly better side like Liverpool, things could get quite ugly.

As mentioned earlier, the Gunners will be without a number of key players today through injuries, COVID, and AFCON. Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu are both carrying knocks, groin and calf respectively. Martin Ødegaard “was unable to report for training on Thursday” and will not be available today. There hasn’t been any additional information about whether his absence is COVID-related, injury-related, or something else entirely. Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pépé, Mohamed Elneny, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are at AFCON. Fortunately, it appears as if Granit Xhaka will be available for the match, having completed his required isolation following a positive COVID test.

Liverpool, on the other hand, should be able to field closer to a preferred XI. The Reds will be without Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah, and Naby Keïta, who are all at AFCON, and Thiago and Divock Origi, who are both injured. Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Joel Matip, and Robert Firmino all likely would have missed the match last Thursday (and therefore half of the tie) but because of the postponement, will be available today and next week. Jurgen Klopp will be on the sideslines following his own COVID isolation, which would have forced him to miss the postponed match.

Arsenal - Ramsdale, Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Lokonga, Xhaka, Saka, Lacazette, Martinelli, Nketiah

Liverpool - Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Milner, Jota, Minamino, Firmino

WHAT: Arsenal at Liverpool, Carabao Cup Semifinal
WHERE: Anfield
WHEN: Thursday, January 13th 11:45 am PT | 2:45 pm ET | 7:45 pm BT
US TV: Not broadcast. Streaming on ESPN+ and fuboTV.

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