Our 3️⃣ points after Liverpool set up EFL Cup final date with Chelsea | OneFootball
Our 3️⃣ points after Liverpool set up EFL Cup final date with Chelsea
Liverpool will meet Chelsea in the EFL Cup final after overcoming Arsenal at the Emirates courtesy of a brace from Diogo Jota.
Here is what we made of it.
No Salah, no problem
The hope for Arsenal supporters going into this game would’ve been over whether the Liverpool attack would look blunted without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané.
Thankfully for Jürgen Klopp, the Merseysiders also have Diogo Jota within their ranks.
The Portuguese forward was the difference-maker in this tie and the sole reason why it will be red against blue at Wembley on February 27.
His first goal came from a piece of individual brilliance to take three Arsenal defenders out of the game before a scuffed finish landed in the bottom corner. They all count.
The strike to finish off his brace was a typical finish of the 25-year-old, taking a brilliant Trent Alexander-Arnold pass in his stride before subtly chipping it over the on-rushing Aaron Ramsdale.
Only Salah has scored more goals in the Premier League than Jota, and Klopp will be more than grateful he had at least one of them in his armoury for the trip to north London.
Sliding doors moment
The first 15 minutes of the encounter appeared to suggest the shape of the game was going to go a different way.
Arsenal came out of the blocks firing, not allowing Liverpool a moment of space and keeping them penned in their own half.
Gabriel Martinelli looked capable of causing Alexander-Arnold all manner of problems on the left-hand side and Emile Smith Rowe was picking up the ball in the half-spaces on numerous occasions.
Klopp’s men may not have managed to wrestle back control if it wasn’t for Caoimhin Kelleher’s tipped save on to the bar to deny Alexandre Lacazette’s free-kick in the 10th minute.
It’s the age-old cliche about football games being decided by the slimmest of margins and the destiny of this one could’ve gone in another direction if it wasn’t for the fingertips of the Irish goalkeeper.
Klopp v Tuchel
And now we can look ahead to what promises to be a pulsating cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea.
The clashes between the two sides in the league this season have been breath-taking throughout the 90 minutes as two of the world’s best coaches have tried to figure each other out.
Both teams have proven capable of exploiting the other’s weaknesses in both games which holds up well for the meeting at Wembley on February 27.
Will Thomas Tuchel add the EFL Cup to the Champions League he won last year? Can Klopp lift the EFL Cup for the first time?
We can’t wait for what lies ahead.
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