Liverpool player ratings, heroes and villains vs Arsenal as Reds can’t capitalise in Carabao Cup semi-final
Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield despite having an extra man for most of the game.
The Reds were well below their best and lacked ideas against a Gunners side who played with 10 men for most of the match.
There was a huge moment in the 24th minute that should have been game-changing.
Arsenal had a man sent off after Granit Xhaxa hacked down Diogo Jota when through on goal. Referee Michael Oliver immediately issued the Gunners midfielder a red card.
Yet the Reds were unable to break down Mikel Artete’s resolute side and hardly failed to muster a clear-cut chance despite having a numerical advantage.
Their opportunity came 90th minute, when Takumi Minamino was gifted an open goal, but somehow blazed over the bar.
Liverpool now travel to Arsenal next Thursday needing a win to face Chelsea in the final at Wembley.
Ben White: the £50 million summer signing was excellent for Arsenal when his side were put under pressure. Made some fine blocks and marshalled the back four superbly. His goalline block in stoppage-time summed up his display.
- Mikel Arteta: the Arsenal boss engineered a huge result. Down to 10 men, Arteta’s changes and set-up proved sage. He ensured the Gunners were compact, well-organised and didn’t give Liverpool a sniff.
- Joel Matip: it says a lot when Liverpool’s chief attacking threat was a centre-back. Matip consistently forayed into enemy territory and tried to get things going. That couldn’t be said for some of his team-mates. Also made a couple of important challenges.
- Granit Xhaka: the Switzerland international simply had to be sent off. His wild, clumsy swipe at Jota gave Arsenal a mountain to climb. He could have no arguments.
- Takumi Minamino: how did the Japan international miss his chance? With the goal gaping from around 10 yards, Minamino simply had to hit the target and would have won the game for Liverpool. Instead, he snatched at his effort and saw the ball sail into the Kop.
- Trent Alexander-Arnold: the Liverpool right-back was well below his best. His deliveries from corners were inconsistent, he crashed a free-kick in a good position against the ball and gave the ball away far too much. A rare off day.
Liverpool: Alisson 7, Trent Alexander-Arnold 5 (Williams 75), Matip 7 (Gomez 75), Van Dijk 6, Robertson 6, Fabinho 6 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 75), Henderson 6, Milner 5 (Jones 61; 6), Jota 5, Firmino 5, Minamino 5.
Arsenal: Ramsdale 6, Cedric 5 (Chamber 11; 5), White 8, Gabriel 7, Tierney 7, Lokonga 6, Xhaka 3, Saka 7 (Tavares 81), Lacazette 6, Martinelli 6, Nketiah 5 (Holding 28; 6).
What’s Liverpool’s next fixture?
The Reds return to action in the Premier League when they welcome Brentford to Anfield on Sunday (14.00).