A place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals will be close at hand when Liverpool host Arsenal at Anfield in the fourth round match on Thursday.

We are close to the end of the final stage of the Carabao Cup, with three matches played on Thursday, when the curtain fell in the fourth round. The main match for this round will be at Anfield, where Liverpool will host Arsenal for the second time this week.

Liverpool made a slow start to the season after beating Leeds United by flogging its teeth in the opening match of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign. But since then, the Reds have made huge improvements, comfortably beating both Chelsea and Arsenal in the league and at the same time introducing 7-2 to Lincoln City in the final round of the Carabao Cup.

On the other hand, Arsenal was largely convincing at the start of the 2020/21 season. Arsenal entered the Premier League campaign after an impressive victory over Liverpool in the FA Shield. Mikel Arteta's men managed to achieve powerful victories over Fulham, West Ham United and Leicester City (Carabao Cup).

Liverpool and Arsenal have already met this season, as the Reds came from behind to beat Arsenal 3-1 in the Premier League. Before the final meeting between the two teams, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the Carabao Cup match.

Team news and tactics


Jurgen Klopp faces a number of new issues in the squad that make his preparations difficult before his team's last game. Against Arsenal on Thursday, the Liverpool manager will be without up to five first-team players.

Liverpool are expected to ring in the substitutions against Arsenal, although Joel Matip and Costas Tsimikas face a period of absence. The midfield will also give the team a major headache, with Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain injured, while Thiago Alcantara is recovering from COVID-19.

The squad should look very much like the one chosen last weekend, with Liverpool returning to 4-2-3-1. Adrian should start between the sticks instead of Allison Baker. In front of him, Nico Williams and James Milner should be the defenders, with the latter replacing Tsimikas.

Williams, in particular, will be trying to prove a point after suffering insults after beating Lincoln City in the last game. At the center of Liverpool's defense, Virgil van Dijk could start all over again, with Billy Cometio entering the team to make his debut for the Reds.

Later in the midfield, Curtis Jones and Marco Grogic will be paired in a double pivot, with Takumi Minamino, who is apparently at the top in Liverpool, repeating no. 10 role. Minamino will play Divock Origi, who leads the line against Arsenal. Finally, Xherdan Shaqiri and Diogo Jota should be the two open men for the host.

Potential Lineup (4-2-3-1): Adrian; Williams, Cometio, Van Dyck, Milner; Jones, Groich; Shaqiri, Minamino, Jota; Origi


Like his counterpart on the bench at Liverpool, Mikel Arteta faces a number of injury concerns ahead of his team's final. On Thursday, the Arsenal manager may be without up to seven first-team players due to various fitness issues.

Gabriel Martinelli is the only Arsenal player in the treatment room at the moment, according to official Gunners team news. Aside from the Brazilian, players such as Sokratis, Cedric Soares, Shkodran Mustafa, Pablo Marie, Callum Chambers, and Emile Smith Rowe have all resumed some forms of training, but none of them is likely to be fit enough to participate.

Arteta must make sweeping changes to the team that started against Liverpool earlier this week and hardly expects to retain any player. Gabriel Magalhaes was dropped from the starting line-up but should return for the Carabao Cup match, with William Saliba and Sead Kolasinac as his teammates in the back three.

In goal, Alex Ranarson was on the line to make his Arsenal debut, with Bernd Leno given a break. Later, Dani Ceballos will return to the starting line-up, with the Spaniard pulling the strings in the middle. He will likely join Ceballos Joe Willock in midfield, with Pocayo Saca and Ainsley Maitland-Niles at Arsenal full-back.

Finally, in attack, Eddie Nikitia will have a chance to lead Arsenal's streak against Liverpool, while Alexandre Lacazette will have a break. Reese Nelson and Nicholas Pepe should both be open minded, and Bibi in particular has a point to prove against live broadcasts.

Possible lineup (3-4-3): Runarsson; Saliba, Gabriel, Kolasinak; Maitland-Niles, Willock, Sibaios, Saca; Baby Nikitia Nelson


Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal

This is a game that should have very good margins. Given that neither team plays their strongest eleven, this should be even more contested, unlike in the match earlier this week. However, with Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nikitiah desperate to regain their place as regular players, Arsenal may have the slightest advantage over Liverpool.

Mikel Arteta has made Arsenal a chilling opportunity in cup competitions for the benefit of the visitors. On the other hand, Liverpool has to be in the game all the time, which makes it difficult for their visitors to prevail at any point in the game. The tough tackle portends a 2-1 win for Arsenal.

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