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Arsenal vs. Liverpool Carabao Cup semifinal, 2nd leg match thread: one step to Wembley

Win at home, play in a final. Simple as that.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Carabao Cup Semi Final First Leg Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

After a postponement and a bunch of melodrama (or perhaps actual drama), Arsenal play host to Liverpool in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semifinal. The Gunners played extremely well in the first leg, battling to a 0-0 draw despite playing down a man for more than 70 minutes thanks to Granit Xhaka.

Mikel Arteta has his sights set on getting to the final, saying, “we’re going to put out the strongest team that we can with only one intention; after the final whistle, we are at Wembley and playing in the final.” I question whether Arteta will actually put out his strongest lineup or if that’s just coachspeak. With an 18-day break coming after Burnley on Sunday and the extreme importance of not dropping points in the Premier League, Arteta might opt not to risk players who are just on the edge of availability.

Either way, what Arsenal’s lineup will actually look like is an open question. The Gunners are getting players back from COVID, injuries and AFCON, but are still not at full strength.

Martin Ødegaard, Bukayo Saka, and Kieran Tierney are all back in training. The Gunners are hopeful that Emile Smith Rowe, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Calum Chambers will be available as well. Cedric Soares will miss out with the hip injury picked up in the first leg, which might be an issue if Tomiyasu and Chambers are both not fit. If so, I’d expect to see Ben White at RB, or perhaps Nuno Tavares. Thomas Partey is back in London but unavailable for today’s match. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is undergoing tests to pinpoint the COVID-related cardiac issue, although it’s not as if he would have played anyway.

Liverpool will be without Thiago and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain through injury. Naby Keita, Sadio Mané, and Mohamed Salah are still at AFCON. A bit of good news on the injury front for the Reds — Harvey Elliott is back in training after that horrific ankle break early in the season, although still a ways off from playing. Nevertheless, it’s always good to see a player, especially a young one, recovering well from a serious injury.

Arsenal - Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Lokonga, Ødegaard, Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Lacazette

Liverpool - Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Jones, Gordon, Jota, Firmino

WHAT: Arsenal vs. Liverpool, Carabao Cup Semifinal, 2nd leg
WHERE: The Emirates
WHEN: Thursday, January 20th 11:45 pm PT | 2:45 pm ET | 7:45 pm BT
US TV: Not broadcast. Streaming on ESPN+.

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