(CTN News) – At Emirates Stadium, Liverpool advanced to the FA Cup quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over Arsenal.
With seven minutes remaining, the game was finally broken when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick bounced in off Jakub Kiwior’s head, breaking the deadlock. Arsenal was punished for its missed opportunities as Liverpool became more dangerous.
As time ran out, Luis Diaz finished off a dangerous move and sent a soaring shot beyond Aaron Ramsdale, the Arsenal goalkeeper, to seal Liverpool’s victory.
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.
Liverpool were persistent and dangerous even without captain Virgil van Dijk (sick) and Mohamed Salah (in the Africa Cup of Nations). As they began to take control of the game, Alexander-Arnold struck the crossbar, Ramsdale superbly stopped Diaz’s shot, 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.
At halftime in this FA Cup match, Arsenal should have been well up, but they were defeated by what appears to be a serious weakness in Arteta’s squad.
The Gunners’ approach play was admirable as they frustrated Liverpool with their passing game, but they let a golden opportunity slip through their fingers.
The atmosphere inside the Emirates Stadium became increasingly tense as the match progressed, and the belief that Arsenal would be punished for their goal-scoring shortcomings intensified.
Eddie Nketiah has not yet given Arteta any indication that he is the long-term solution to a developing problem, while Gabriel Jesus was out with a knee injury; nonetheless, he is not a consistent or reliable scorer.
This Arsenal squad has a lot of promising qualities, but they risk failing if their impressive passing does not translate into goals.
Arteta needs to fix this immediately, and the club and manager will likely agree with him because of all the rumors about Brentford’s Ivan Toney. It has still to be determined if they can conduct business in the challenging January market.
The optimism surrounding Arteta’s squad following their commendable draw at Anfield on 23 December has to be quickly re-established, as this is Arsenal’s third consecutive loss.
Even though Virgil van Dijk was out with an illness and Mohamed Salah was at the Africa Cup of Nations, Liverpool still managed to pull off an incredible comeback in this FA Cup match between two teams vying for the Premier League crown.
Although they were relieved by Arsenal’s first-half misses, Klopp’s squad remained competitive. Even without Salah, their offensive threat became more apparent as the match progressed.
Among the standouts, young defender Jarell Quansah has maintained his impressive form without Joel Matip, and Ibrahima Konate shows he can still deliver authoritative displays without Van Dijk.
While Jota remained energetic as he continued to recover from an injury, Nunez was once 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.
Liverpool is now in first place in the Premier League, facing Fulham in Wednesday’s EFL Cup semi-final. They have also advanced to the Europa League’s knockout stage and are optimistic about their chances in Wednesday’s FA Cup fourth-round draw.