Arsenal overcame the numerical shortage in its ranks and snatched a precious 0-0 draw with its host Liverpool, Thursday, at Anfield, in the first leg of the English Premier League Cup semi-finals.
The two teams will meet again at the Emirates Stadium, the stronghold of Arsenal in the capital, London, next Thursday, when Arsenal will have the opportunity to snatch the qualification to the final through any victory at home.
The winner of the two-legged final in the tournament final will meet with Chelsea, who beat Tottenham 2-0 in the first leg and 1-0 in the other semi-final match.
The first half of the match ended in a goalless draw, despite Arsenal’s numerical shortage, after Swiss Granit Xhaka was sent off in the 24th minute.
Liverpool announced its superiority over the opponent from the beginning of the match, as he had the most possession of the ball and the best attacker, and he had multiple corner kicks in the first quarter hour of the match, while his players were unlucky in more than one dangerous ball in front of the Gunners goal.
Arsenal’s Cedric Suarez fell injured in the tenth minute, so Arsenal made an early emergency change with Calum Chambers coming in the 11th minute instead of Suarez.
Jordan Henderson almost opened the scoring for Liverpool in the 12th minute when he advanced towards Arsenal goalkeeper, Aaron Ramsdale, who tried to remove the ball returning to him from the defense, but he shot it into Henderson’s body, who tried to exploit it, but the ball eventually collided with the goalkeeper and went out to a new corner for Liverpool.
And luck continued his stubbornness to Liverpool inside the Arsenal penalty area, which did not show any real offensive attempts since the start of the match.
Alexandre Lacazette took advantage of a mistake from the Liverpool defense in the 19th minute and took possession of the ball, but he rushed and shot it from a distance to go just outside the goal.
After a quick organized attack by Arsenal, Liverpool responded quickly in the 24th minute, but Granit Xhaka dropped Diego Jota in front of the penalty area when Jota was preparing to receive a dangerous long pass from Andy Robertson. The referee did not hesitate to expel Xhaka.
Trent Alexander-Arnold hit the free kick but it bounced off the defensive human wall and a follow-up failed.
With Xhaka sent off, Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta made another emergency change in the 28th minute with Rob Holding coming in instead of Edward Nikita.
Liverpool continued its offensive pressure on the Gunners, but it lacked accuracy and focus in ending the attacks, and the first half ended in a goalless draw.
Despite the numerical shortage in its ranks, Arsenal showed some improvement in performance during the first minutes of the second half, but the danger remained absent from the two goals, with Liverpool returning to form some offensive pressure on Arsenal’s defense.
Takumi Minamino ended a quick attack by Liverpool in the 68th minute with a shot wide under the pressure of Arsenal’s defense.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker saved a dangerous ball from Bukayo Saka after a quick attack by Arsenal in the 71st minute, and the attack rebounded to Liverpool, so Gabriel Magalis did not find the Arsenal defender seemed to resort to roughness in order to stop the attack, the referee did not hesitate to warn him.
Despite the decline in the physical level in the last minutes of the match, Liverpool intensified its offensive attempts in search of the winning goal, but it collided with the lumpy and organized defense of Arsenal, and the completely free Minamino knocked the ball down while in the center of the penalty area in the 90th minute, to end the meeting in a goalless draw.