STAR PREVIEW Thurs: Liverpool v Arsenal

Amid all the controversy surrounding the postponement of last week’s fixture, Liverpool finally face Arsenal at Anfield on Thursday night in the rescheduled first-leg of the EFL Cup semi-final.

Liverpool requested to have the first-leg postponed, originally scheduled for the 6th January, due to a supposed outbreak of COVID-19 in the Liverpool squad. However, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has since revealed that several of those cases were ‘false positives’, causing many to urge the EFL to investigate further.

Klopp was able to field a side for Liverpool’s FA Cup clash with League One side Shrewsbury Town at the weekend with a team combining youth and experience surviving an early scare to secure a comfortable 4-1 win. Goals from Kaide Gordon, Roberto Firmino and a brace from Brazilian midfielder Fabinho were enough to send Liverpool safely through to the next round.

The Reds’ options will be bolstered further for this match with first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker expected to return after completing his self-isolation period. Trent Alexander-Arnold is now the only player missing for COVID-related reasons.

Liverpool v Arsenal
Carabao Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg
19:45 Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Football / Sky Sports Ultra HD

(Maximum 10 matches)
NOV 2021 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal
APR 2021 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 0-3 Liverpool
OCT 2020 LEAGUE CUP Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal
SEP 2020 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
AUG 2020 COMMUNITY SHIELD Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
JUL 2020 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
OCT 2019 LEAGUE CUP Liverpool 5-5 Arsenal
AUG 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
DEC 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal
NOV 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool

Arsenal will be looking to bounce back after suffering an FA Cup upset at the hands of Championship side Nottingham Forest on Sunday evening.

Dressed all in white as part of their ‘No More Red’ anti-knife crime campaign, Mikel Arteta’s side were taught a lesson in the importance of not underestimating your opponents when Lewis Grabban scored a late winner for the Championship side to send Arsenal packing from the FA Cup at the first hurdle.

Progress has undoubtedly been made by Arsenal in recent weeks and months with their performance against Manchester City in their last Premier League outing, although ultimately ending in defeat, arguably their best of the season so far. However, that shock defeat to Forest has certainly put a dampener on things and the Gunners will need to respond quickly.

Defender Gabriel will be back in the fold for this one after serving a suspension and will likely partner Ben White in defence, but there are still doubts looming over whether Takehiro Tomiyasu or Emile Smith-Rowe will be fit for the visitors.

This is an intriguing match-up and has the potential to be an exciting affair with both sides boasting strong scoring records so far in this competition. Arsenal have scored 16 en route to the semi-finals whereas Liverpool have bagged 8 in one game fewer.

On home turf, even without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane who are away at the Africa Cup of Nations, it is difficult to look beyond Liverpool in this first-leg. We’re backing Liverpool and Both Teams to Score here.

BACK Liverpool and BTTS 2pts at 5/2 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

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