A spot in the Carabao Cup final is on the line Thursday when Liverpool travels to Arsenal for the second leg of their semifinal. The two teams had a sluggish 0-0 draw last week at Anfield, so the pressure is ramped up for Thursday.
Liverpool sent out a pretty strong line-up last week, and should do something similar on Thursday with a few changes.
Carabao Cup Liverpool FC at Arsenal FYIs
Semifinal Leg 2/2 Aggregate 0-0
Kickoff: Jan 20, 7:45pm Emirates Stadium
Team News: Arsenal Liverpool
Starting XI Predictions: Arsenal Liverpool
One change expected is at goalkeeper. Alisson started the first leg, but that was really to get him a game to get back in the swing of things after having Covid.
Jurgen Klopp came out and said the Carabao Cup is Caoimhin Kelleher’s competition and that he would be back in for the second leg. So barring a late setback, Kelleher is expected to start.
Liverpool sent out their best defensive line-up the past two games, with Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold. There is no reason to see that changing for the second leg.
Jurgen Klopp has been criticized for the way he approaches the domestic cups in the past. He stressed last week that his selections often come down to weighing rest and availability more than anything.
Liverpool’s schedule is pretty light in January, and there is a two-week break coming up, so here is a chance to go for it.
One place that changes could come is the Liverpool midfield. Liverpool managed just one shot on goal in the first leg, and couldn’t generate much through the midfield.
Fabinho and Jordan Henderson likely keep their places, but Curtis Jones should get the start in place of James Milner.
Jones came on as a sub in the first leg, and made an impact in a positive way.
Liverpool really only have three healthy first-team options up top. With players gone at AFCON and injuries, Takumi Minamino, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota are the choices.
Minamino had a terrible miss that could have won the first leg, but scored last weekend against Brentford.
The chemistry between them is improving the more they are together, so Thursday should be better than previous games.
Predicted Liverpool Starting XI (4-3-3): Caoimhin Kelleher, Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Curtis Jones, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Takumi Minamino, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota.