LONDON (EFE) – The magnificent performance of Bernd Leno, a hero in the match with his saves and in the penalty shoot-out by stopping two shots, allowed Arsenal to eliminate Liverpool and get into the quarterfinals of the League Cup.
Mikel Arteta’s men took revenge in this way for the league defeat last weekend and the elimination in this competition last season also in the penalty shoot-out, only that time they tied at five and this Thursday there was not a single goal at Anfield.
Liverpool did without many key players in their line-up, as Jürgen Klopp usually does in cup competitions. Neither Sadio Mané nor Mohamed Salah were in the game and there were up to five homegrown players in the starting line-up, as well as regular substitutes like Adrián San Miguel, James Milner and Takumi Minamino.
Despite the supposed superiority of an Arsenal that brought out a better team, with Dani Ceballos, Eddie Nketiah, Nicolás Pepé, Gabriel and Bukayo Saka, the truth is that it was the ‘Reds’ who dominated the ball and possession.
Liverpool went from more to less. In the first half, Adrián had to intervene to save a hand in hand with Nketiah, putting the mitt down to scrape the ball.
As happened in the Premier duel played last weekend, in which Liverpool came back from Arsenal’s initial 0-1, Klopp’s men appeased Arteta’s team and regularly threatened the goal of Bernd Leno, the figure of the match.
The German avoided the collapse of an Arsenal that in this same tie last year received five goals before ending up falling on penalties.
On the clearest chance of scoring in the first half, Leno first headed Diogo Jota with a header and the rebound smashed him off the Minamino crossbar.
In the second half, his exhibition arrived. He displayed catlike reflexes to avoid Virgil Van Dijk’s 1-0 shot from a corner kick down before repelling a shot from outside the box from Drujic hitting the post.
Drujic himself threatened Leno again with a shot to a squad from a corner, but the German flew to keep the door clean.
At the other end of the field Adrián was stung, who saved a point-blank shot from Holding with 20 minutes remaining.
The marker did not move and the lack of goal perhaps prevented Arsenal from winning, since in added time there was a hand from Milner inside the Liverpool area that the referee did not see.
The game went to penalties, like last year. The top five pitchers scored, three for Liverpool and two for Arsenal, until Elneny faced the goal and met Adrian’s save.
But Leno did not want to be left behind and stopped Origi on the next pitch and Harry Wilson on the sixth for Joe Willock to send Arsenal to the League Cup quarter-finals.