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Arsenal v Liverpool – Preview, Predictions and Best Bets

Arsenal host Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg on Thursday. The hosts are delivering strong performances and face a slightly below-their-best Liverpool side. When the sides met earlier this season, Jurgen Klopp’s team breezed to a 4-0 victory. Both sides will be missing several players due to the Africa Cup of Nations.

Arsenal host Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg on Thursday. The hosts are delivering strong performances and face a slightly below-their-best Liverpool side. When the sides met earlier this season, Jurgen Klopp’s team breezed to a 4-0 victory. Both sides will be missing several players due to the Africa Cup of Nations.

Arsenal Form

The Gunners have been playing well of late. After a run of three losses in four league matches, including at struggling Everton, they won five in a row. Home wins against Southampton (3-0) and West Ham (2-0) was followed by a 4-1 win at injury-ravaged Leeds.

They then made light work of Sunderland at home in Carabao Cup quarter-finals (5-1) before putting five past relegation-threatened Norwich City on their travels. Their most recent match saw an injury-time home defeat to Man City having led the match and having had to play the final 30 minutes with ten men.

Arsenal Team News

Arsenal is without Gabriel in defence due to suspension so Rob Holding will step in. Thomas Partey is on duty with Ghana and with Mohamed Elneny also away, Albert Lokonga should get a start. Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are also unavailable but Eddie Nketiah and Folarin Balogun will be on the bench.

Emile Smith Rowe looks a certain starter with Gabriel Martinelli perhaps given a breather after a lot of recent minutes. Nuno Tavares could also be handed an outing at left-back whilst young midfielder Charlie Patino will hope to feature from the bench.

Arsenal Motivation

Mikel Arteta may be absent from this match due to illness but he will be very eager to reach the final. With an FA Cup to his name already, he will see this as a realistic opportunity to lift silverware.

The home leg against a Liverpool side shorn of quite a few players is a big opportunity and the Gunners will attack and try to win the first tie.

Liverpool Form

Having won eight matches in a row in all competitions, Liverpool has hit some iffy form since then. After scraping 1-0 wins at Wolves and at home against Aston Villa, they beat Newcastle 3-1 at Anfield.

Their next match saw the side give up 3.4 xG amid a plethora of big chances conceded in a 2-2 draw at Tottenham.

A win on penalties in the last round of the League Cup followed having drawn 3-3 with Leicester (having trailed 3-1) in regulation time before losing 1-0 at the same opponents in the Premier League. Their most recent match saw a 2-0 lead at Chelsea turn into a 2-2 draw in a mixed performance lacking much midfield control.

Liverpool Team News

The Reds are without Alisson, Roberto Firmino, and Joel Matip due to COVID-19. Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Naby Keita have all departed for the AFCON too. Thiago Alcantara and Takumi Minamino have been absent with injuries of late and are unlikely to be risked.

Adrian could get a rare start in goal, Andy Robertson is back from suspension to play and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should start. The attack could have Diego Jota flanked by the latter and Curtis Jones. Joe Gomez is expected to step in for Virgil Van Dijk.

Liverpool Motivation

Liverpool doesn’t tend to take this competition particularly seriously, even drawing criticism from former player Jamie Carragher. One hour before kickoff will reveal how strong of a lineup they go with.

With an FA Cup tie against Shrewsbury Town on the horizon, they could rest many players for that one and plump for a stronger XI against Arsenal. A draw would be a decent first-leg result on the road.

Key Stats

Arsenal have won 5 of their last 6 matches

Arsenal have scored 20 goals in their last 6 matches

Liverpool have conceded 8 goals in their last 5 matches (no clean sheets)

LFC have lost just 2 of their 16 away matches this season, scoring 42 goals

Liverpool have scored in 29 of their last 30 away matches (all comps)

Liverpool have scored 3+ goals in 10 of their last 12 PL matches against the Gunners

Verdict

This match is harder to predict due to the AFCON absences. Liverpool is more affected with their two best forwards absent. Arsenal look in better form is expected to have closer to their best XI, and may take this match more seriously – they are therefore tipped to win.

Best Bet: Arsenal win at 2.15
Multiplier Leg: Arsenal win/draw double chance + over 1.5 goals at 1.68
Value Score Tip: Arsenal 3-2 Liverpool at 19.00
Value Bet: Both teams to score in both halves at 7.75

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James is a football analyst who writes about the tactics of the PSL and English Premier League. He holds the UEFA A coaching licence and has previously worked for several clubs in analysis roles.Twitter: https://twitter.com/footy_analysis

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