Liverpool v Arsenal: Preview, Team news, Predicted XI | Carabao Cup 2019-20
Arsenal play in the Carabao Cup after the mayhem in the weekend may have soured their season in the most damning way. Granit Xhaka, the club captain, was substituted late in their game against Crystal Palace only to loud boos and jeers from Arsenal fans. While the reaction from the fans is commonplace nowadays, what Xhaka did in the reaction was unfathomable.
Xhaka cupped his ears as if to mock the fans who were booing him, he threw his armband away instead of handing it over amicably, and while he walked off the pitch he was seen mouthing expletives at the fans in addition to taking off and throwing away his jersey as he walked down the tunnel.
A club captain reacting this way goes a long way to explain what the mood at the club is. It is anything but stable and all this in between Arsenal's attempts to push their way back into Champions' League qualification. The mood at the Emirates is sour if not bitter with football matters being equally out of sorts for Unai Emery's men who have done poorly of late, to say the least.
Arsenal are in desperate need of results, wins to be specific to lift the dire mood surrounding the club. In fact, they need a string of wins to displace the negativity surrounding them. This would suggest this is a bad time to play Liverpool at Anfield, which is exactly what Arsenal do in the Carabao Cup in a couple of days.
Liverpool are playing the game at another level. Their 2-1 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur was as impressive as it gets, after Jurgen Klopp's men came from an early goal down to completely overpower Tottenham for most of the game in every department but the scoreline (thanks to Paulo Gazzaniga). Yet Liverpool have barely put a foot wrong this season with their only defeat coming in the Champions League against Napoli.
Having reached the Round of 16 after having beaten MK Dons 2-0 in the previous round, Liverpool are expected to continue their march through the Carabao Cup regardless of some heavy rotation expected in their starting line up.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have failed to inspire, with their results being questionable, even if their position in the Premier League table is not really all that poor. In recent times, Emery's Arsenal have succumbed to a draw against Crystal Palace at home after leading 2-0, they have been beaten by a freshly promoted Sheffield United side away from home, and have barely managed to get past Vitoria SC in the Europa League after winning 3-2 at home and even before that struggled to get past Eddie Howe's Bournemouth whom they managed to beat 1-0.
While not in the pink of form, the Gunners have progressed to this Round of 16 game having beaten Nottingham Forest 5-0. Liverpool will certainly pose more of a challenge but Arsenal will hope to reignite their season with a good performance in this game hoping Liverpool rotate as heavily as they have in cup games recently.
Speaking of which, let us move into some Team News.
Liverpool are missing Xherdan Shaqiri through a calf injury and Ki-Jana Hoever, who impressed at right-back in the previous round has had to report for national duty with the U-17 World Cup on, meaning he will not be a part of the squad midweek. Joel Matip is a doubt for the game as he is nursing a knock which kept him out of the game against Tottenham. Mohammad Salah is also expected to be rested after a knock forced him off the field early in the weekend.
Jurgen Klopp is expected to have almost everyone else fit for selection.
Reiss Nelson is expected to be the only player Arsenal are not going to have fit for selection with the youngster out till late November at the very least. It is yet to be seen if Granit Xhaka is allowed to appear after his rather unfiltered reaction to the Arsenal fans booing him off the pitch in the weekend.
Mesut Ozil may be a surprise selection considering Arsenal are also going to rotate a bit considering their game this coming weekend.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Allison, Gomez, Lovren, Van Dijk, Milner, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, Mane, Origi, Firmino.
Arensal XI (4-4-2): Martinez, Bellerin, Holding, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Torreira, Guendouzi, Ozil, Ceballos, Pepe, Aubameyang
Arsenal have a lot to prove but with Liverpool playing at Anfield, one will not want to bet against them. Klopp's men would have too much for Arsenal at the moment.
Liverpool 2-0 Arsenal