Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool: Reds secure Carabao Cup final place
Diogo Jota celebrates scoring his second goal against Arsenal (PHOTO: Getty Images/Justin Tallis)

Liverpool are through to the Carabao Cup final after a 2-0 win over Arsenal. 

Liverpool are through to the Carabao Cup final after a 2-0 win over Arsenal

A Diogo Jota brace was the difference between the sides as the Reds march on to Wembley with the hope of winning a record-extending ninth League Cup.

They had failed to win in four visits to London so far this season but finally broke the hoodoo to set-up a mouthwatering clash with Champions League holders Chelsea

Jurgen Klopp has now won 10 of the 11 semi-finals he has appeared in as a manager (6/7 with Liverpool).

  • Story of the game

His selection surprised many when it was announced that Kaide Gordon was preferred to Takumi Minamino and Caoimhin Kelleher replaced Alisson.

Mikel Arteta welcomed back Takehiro Tomiyasu, Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe back to the starting XI, but were without the suspended Granit Xhaka. Thomas Partey made the bench, after only landing back from AFCON at midday. 

The Reds made a sloppy start, and Arsenal were bright under a buoyant Emirates atmosphere, with two corners in the first three minutes. 

The home side nearly took the lead after four minutes, Alexandre Lacazette's free-kick saved onto the crossbar by Kelleher after Andy Robertson fouled Bukayo Saka on the edge of the box.

Liverpool thought they had made the breakthrough when Joel Matip tapped in Fabinho's header from a corner, but the flag was raised, he was offside. 

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The away side then did take the lead in the 19th minute. Jota received the ball from Trent Alexander-Arnold after a sublime Roberto Firmino flick, beat Takehiro Tomiyasu before wrong-footing Aaron Ramsdale with a scuffed effort from just outside the box. 

The Gunners had another bright spell after the goal. In the 27th minute, Gabriel Martinelli's quick feet bamboozled Virgil Van Dijk but Fabinho's last-ditch tackle spared the Dutchman's blushes, then Robertson was forced to block Saka's effort just four minutes later.

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Lacazette was booked for a late challenge on Curtis Jones in the 43rd minute and then fouled Jota as the entertaining first half was coming to an end.

The Frenchman then had the first major chance of the second-half, Albert Sambi Lokonga's pass split Liverpool's defence but he could only fire over the crossbar just two minutes after the restart.

The Reds then nearly doubled their lead in the 52nd minute, Jota escaping Ben White on the left-wing before cutting the ball back to Gordon, who blasted over from close range.

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Half-time substitute Ibrahima Konaté was then denied by the post from an Alexander-Arnold corner before being booked just minutes later for a drag back on Lacazette. 

Minamino replaced Gordon in the 63rd minute and the Japan forward nearly had an instant impact, his swivelling effort blocked after a scramble in the Arsenal box in the 68th minute.

Martinelli's hopeful shot from a tight angle in the 72nd minute led to a corner which was easily cleared by Liverpool, who looked in control in the second-half. 

A mix-up in the Arsenal defence was nearly capitalised on, before the ball ended up at Robertson's feet, but the Scotsman blasted it wide.

Liverpool finally got their second goal in the 77th minute, a sublime pass from Alexander-Arnold found Jota behind the Arsenal defence who controlled the ball on his chest and flicked it over Ramsdale, and after a VAR check was ruled to be onside.  

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Martinelli was Arsenal's biggest threat through-out and his volley just sailed over the crossbar after he found space in the Reds box after 80 minutes.

With the game seemingly dying down, Neco Williams replaced Firmino with just over five minutes to go, before Thomas Partey was sent off after two quick yellow card offences despite only being substituted on in the 75th minute. 

 

  • Jota too good for Arsenal 

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Arsenal simply could not handle the Portuguese attacker, his first goal may have been a lucky scuff, but the build-up to the finish was fantastic and his second was of the very highest quality. 

Liverpool's scouting team pulled off a masterclass in identifying the former Wolves man, and he is paying them back with his performances on the pitch. 

  • Alexander-Arnold: The gold standard? 

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Martinelli had some luck against Alexander-Arnold early on, but once the right back got into the game, he turned defence into attack and Arsenal could not handle him. 

Two assists that bring his tally to 15 for the season so far, he is having an absolutely sensational season, even by his own high standards. 

Whether he is on the right, or moving into central areas, his vision and his passing are outrageous. 

Man of the match

It has be the match winner Diogo Jota, as harsh as that might be on Fabinho and Alexander-Arnold. 

The dribbling, the composure and positioning was perfect, he ran Tomiyasu and White ragged, and he probably should have had an assist too. 

A superb performance from Liverpool's number 20. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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