In this article, we will take a look at some of the key takeaways as Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool were dominant in a 1-0 win against Arsenal in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final clash at the Emirates stadium, stripping the Gunners of a chance at a second cup final appearance under Mikel Arteta.
Jota puts Arsenal to the sword once again
Portuguese international forward Diogo Jota loves playing against Arsenal; the goals speak for themselves. After his brace tonight against Mikel Arteta’s Gunners the former Wolves standout has now hit four goals in just two appearances for the Reds at the Emirates against the north London giants; more goals against the club on their home patch than Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, and Roberto Firmino.
4 – Despite only playing two games at the Emirates Stadium for Liverpool, Diogo Jota is already the Reds’ leading scorer at the stadium with four goals. Patch. pic.twitter.com/o2vE28wFdw
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 20, 2022
It was the perfect storyline for Jota as well as he has found himself in a rich vein of goalscoring form all season long under Klopp in 2021-22, with ten Premier League goals this term bested by only the aforementioned Salah who sits on sixteen. The Portuguese has quickly found himself becoming one of the most vaunted attacking options in the league despite not always being included in the matchday XI while outshining the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo this season.
January cannot end without midfield reinforcements at London Colney
Poor planning on the part of Arsenal after what was otherwise a very strong summer window now risks throwing all the progress straight out the window as the Gunners now contend with thin numbers in midfield and the urgent need for reinforcements in the center of the park before the conclusion of the winter transfer period.
The fact that Ghanaian star Thomas Partey was rushed back from international duty from AFCON after Ghana crashed out of the group stage was bad enough for Arsenal, but after his sending-off tonight in the wake of being brought on as a substitute, the situation has now grown precarious. Well, more than it already was.
Thomas Partey misses no Premier League games while away at AFCON, comes back, plays 15 minutes and will now miss the Burnley game.
— arseblog (@arseblog) January 20, 2022
Partey did not miss a single Arsenal fixture while he was away in Cameroon but is now set to miss the weekend clash against Burnley. Thankfully for Arsenal, it is a match where they may be able to get away without him, but the performance in central midfield from both Martin Ødegaard and Sambi Lokonga was proof-positive that, if the project is to continue to progress, the thin nature of the options in midfield needs addressing.
And the timing could not have been worse either after Ainsley Maitland-Niles was shipped out on loan to AS Roma this month while the club has failed to bring him a replacement thus far despite links with Juventus’ Arthur in addition to failing in securing an additional purchase over the summer. Realistically, Arsenal has just four senior midfielders in the aforementioned Partey and Lokonga, as well as Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny. This could have been handled so much better and now the Gunners could pay the price this season due to a lack of planning.
Liverpool are capable without Mohamed Salah
Arsenal was hardly at the races tonight in front of the home support at the Emirates Stadium but that should not take away from the overall level of performance from Liverpool on a night where nothing less than a win would have been viewed as acceptable by many.
The Reds were good; more than good, in fact. Diogo Jota will undoubtedly be pleased with his brace against the Gunners but in truth, Liverpool could have easily bagged a few more in the Arsenal end as chance after chance fell near or in the area for Klopp’s troops who were comfortable across the balance of proceedings despite the lively start by Arteta’s young guns.
Alexandre Lacazette perhaps should have rammed home a guilt-edged chance that fell at his feet which could have potentially changed the course of events in the English capital, but the manner in which Liverpool saw off the Gunners on their home patch without both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané was a testament to the gap that has formed between the two clubs in the Premier League.
Most importantly for the Anfield outfit, the additive proof that there is hardly a considerable drop in performance levels of the type of chances they are capable to create when the Egyptian star is not available for selection should be seen as a considerable confidence boost. Given the notion that Salah has yet to extend his contract on Merseyside, if the unthinkable should happen, it seems as though Liverpool will be just fine.