Arsenal host Liverpool in the first leg of the League Cup this week. The Gunners and the Reds have made this an almost annual date. They always seem to play each other in this competition. This is the first time (if it is staged, as Liverpool have put in a request to have this postponed) in over 30 years two top-flight sides have faced each other in three straight League Cup campaigns.
This year, the stakes get a little higher as they face each other in the semi-finals. Arsenal has never lost a home League Cup tie to Liverpool in the six times they have played host to the Merseyside club. The last time they faced each other at the Emirates, in a League Cup tie, it ended in a 2-1 victory to the North London club.
Arsenal vs Liverpool FYIs:
Kick-off time: 7.45 PM GMT, 6th January 2022
Team News: go here
Form Guide (All Competitions): Arsenal (WWW*L) Liverpool (DW*LD)
Let’s dust off the old crystal ball and see what the starting eleven for the Gunners might look like. Bernd Leno will get a run in goals for the Gunners.
The German is clearly the ‘cup goalkeeper’ these days for Arsenal and will give Aaron Ramsdale a much-needed rest.
It could be a perfect opportunity to put himself in the shop window, so to speak, with January being transfer month.
The center-back pairing will be an all-English one. Ben White and Rob Holding will play here because of a lack of other options.
White’s regular partner Gabriel will serve a one-match suspension for receiving two yellow cards in Arsenal’s last match, whilst Callum Chambers is out with COVID-19.
Takehiro Tomiyasu will start at right fullback, with Nuno Tavares starting at left fullback completing the back four. In midfield, Albert Sambi Lokonga will come back into the first team to replace Thomas Partey, who is off to the African Cup of Nations.
Granit Xhaka will probably partner him most likely. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ainsley Maitland-Niles gets a start over his former captain, however. I think Emile Smith Rowe might start as the most attacking member of this midfield three.
I am picking Eddie Nketiah to get a start as the focal point of the attack. Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli will start on either side of him in a very youthful-looking attack.
Arsenal has much more to play for in this match. The Carabao Cup is really their only chance at silverware this season. Therefore, I am picking a 2-0 victory to the home side.