With two goals in the last minutes, Liverpool defeated Arsenal 2-0 at Emirates Stadium to advance to the FA Cup quarterfinals.
Liverpool were more dangerous and punished Arsenal for their missed opportunities. Trent Alexander-Arnold broke the deadlock with a free-kick that bounced off Jakub Kiwior’s head with seven minutes left.
Luis Diaz finished a devastating break for Liverpool in stoppage time by hitting a powerful shot past Aaron Ramsdale, the goalie for Arsenal.
In the first half, Mikel Arteta’s team controlled play. Arsenal had several good chances to score, but Martin Odegaard struck the crossbar, and Reiss Nelson and Kai Havertz could not convert.
Although captain Virgil van Dijk was out with an illness and Mohamed Salah was in the Africa Cup of Nations, Liverpool remained resolute and in constant danger. The first half ended with an Alexander-Arnold shot just outside the post. As the second half progressed, Diaz found Ramsdale, who made a great stop, and Diogo Jota’s header went just wide of the post.
The unlucky Kiowor headed past Ramsdale, and then Diaz made sure Jurgen Klopp’s team would go to the fourth round—just as the rematch, which neither Arsenal nor Liverpool would have wanted, loomed.
Liverpool Made Mistakes
What appears to be a big weakness in Arteta’s squad cost Arsenal a chance to take a commanding lead in this FA Cup match at halftime.
It was admirable how the Gunners worked their approach to make Liverpool pay for their mistakes, but they let their best opportunities slip away at the death.
As the match progressed, the frustration inside the Emirates Stadium rose, along with the belief that Arsenal would eventually face the consequences of their goal-scoring woes.
While Arteta’s problems continue to mount, Gabriel Jesus was out with a knee injury, and Eddie Nketiah has failed to demonstrate that he is a consistent and dependable scorer. There is a constant risk that Arsenal will fail despite all their admirable qualities if they do not score goals to complement their spectacular passing style.
Arteta needs to fix this immediately, and the club and manager will likely agree with him because of all the rumours about Brentford’s Ivan Toney. We must wait and watch if they can do business in the challenging January market.
Arsenal have lost three in a row after their commendable draw at Anfield on December 23; Arteta’s squad has to quickly regain their optimism following that result.
Liverpool play down the absence of star players.
Impressively, Liverpool overcame the absence of Virgil van Dijk (unwell) and Mohamed Salah (in the Africa Cup of Nations) in this FA Cup match between the two Premier League title contenders.
Liverpool appreciated Arsenal’s first-half misses, but Jurgen Klopp’s squad was never out of it. They still had a dangerous attacking line, which became more apparent as the match progressed.
Notable players were Ibrahima Konate, who proved he could lead the team even without Van Dijk, and rookie defender Jarell Quansah, who has been impressive since Joel Matip’s absence.
Jota, who is making steady progress on his comeback from injury, was energetic, while Nunez was again ineffective with his goal attempts.
Overall, Liverpool and their fans will have renewed confidence in Klopp’s revamped squad if they can find a way to win even without Van Dijk and Salah.
Optimism surrounds Liverpool’s upcoming FA Cup fourth-round draw as the club leads the Premier League, faces Fulham in an EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday, advances to the Europa League knockout stage, and more.