A Diogo Jota brace proved the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal as Jurgen Klopp’s men won 2-0 at the Emirates on Thursday and progressed to the final of the Carabao Cup.
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With the two sides playing out a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the first leg, there was everything to play for.
The odds were stacked against Mikel Arteta’s side who had conceded 43 goals in 16 games across all competitions against Liverpool since Klopp took control. However, the home side started the brighter. Bukayo Saka won an early free kick after just outside the box and Alexandre Lacazette hit the post with his shot.
Liverpool had few chances to get high up the pitch in the first half but took their chances when they did. They had a goal ruled out on 13 minutes when Joel Matip was judged to be offside when he headed the ball past Aaron Ramsdale.
It didn’t take long for Liverpool to secure the lead, though, with Jota given too much space by the Arsenal defence on 19 minutes. He was able to find himself an angle and bobble the ball into the net from just outside the penalty box.
The home side appeared to lose their grip on the match as the half wore on with their initially impressive press slowly receding. Lacazette had a golden chance to equal the sides early in the first half but, with just Caoimhin Kelleher to beat, he sent his shot high and over the bar.
Liverpool nearly doubled their lead on the hour mark when Trent Alexander-Arnold delivered a cross into the box.
Ibrahima Konate‘s header hit the woodwork before Ramsdale scrambled to save Jordan Henderson‘s rebound shot. It was early goalscorer Jota, however, that eventually gave Liverpool their second after a lengthy VAR review.
He got the better of Ben White and chipped the ball over Ramsdale on 77 minutes to secure Liverpool’s win. The goals mark Jota’s fifth and sixth against Arsenal in all competitions since he joined Liverpool.
Arsenal were reduced to 10 men on 89 minutes when substitute Thomas Partey — who had just returned from Africa Cup of Nations duty earlier in the day — received a second yellow card within three minutes of his first. He had only come on on 74 minutes as a substitute for Emile Smith-Rowe.
Liverpool will face Chelsea in the final at Wembley on Feb. 27.