Liverpool squandered a 2-0 lead at Stamford Bridge and shared the spoils with Chelsea to suffer another setback in the title race. Manchester City are the runaway leaders and the Reds, therefore, must focus on conquering the other silverware. A thrilling win against Leicester City earned them a place in the Carabao Cup semis, however, the Merseysiders are expecting a fierce test on Thursday night against an in-form Arsenal at the Emirates.
The Gunners faced a 4-0 humiliation at Anfield when these two sides clashed heads in the Premier League encounter. The North Londoners have shown a massive upsurge ever since and they hold the upper hand this time around given the absence of an array of Liverpool stars due to AFCON as well as injuries and covid concerns.
Predicted 4-3-3 Liverpool Lineup To Face Arsenal
Alisson Becker is isolating himself after a suspected positive Covid test. Young Caoimhin Kelleher delivered a majestic display against the Blues and is expected to retain his place between the sticks following his tie-breaker heroics versus the Foxes in the quarter-final.
Joel Matip, too, is self-isolating and the gaffer Jurgen Klopp (who is set to miss the trip as well due to Covid) should opt for a central defensive pairing of Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk in this first leg tie. Nat Phillips is still recovering from a fractured cheekbone, whereas Ibrahima Konate’s minutes need to be managed carefully after a gruelling test in West London. Andrew Robertson has served a three-game suspension and is likely to replace Kostas Tsimikas down the left. Neco Williams is enjoying an exquisite Cup run and the manager must rely on him as a right fullback resting Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The Reds have a crisis in the middle of the park with Thiago Alcantara still sidelined with a hip strain. Naby Keita has left the camp to represent Guinea in the Africa Cup of Nations and the responsibility would be immense on the young academy pair Curtis Jones and Tyler Morton. Skipper Jordan Henderson was disappointing against Chelsea and, therefore, must uplift his game to drive the show from the centre of the pitch.
Liverpool are in deep trouble high up the pitch as they are set to be without star attackers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane (AFCON) for a few weeks. Cup heroes Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino are ruled out with their respective injury woes, along with Roberto Firmino who has also tested positive for Covid. Diogo Jota remains the only recognized attacking option available for selection and the utility man Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain must take more responsibilities as a makeshift ‘False 9’ against his former employers. 17-year-old Kaide Gordon might grab a start after impressing on his debut versus Norwich City in an earlier round fixture. Jones is capable of featuring from the left, whereas Williams has been tried out down the right in previous rounds as an attacking alternative.