Pundit predicts Carabao Cup misery for Arsenal despite naming two big Liverpool concerns

Jurgen Klopp fist bumping Mikel Arteta, Liverpool v Arsenal, 2020. The pair meet in the Carabao Cup semi-finals

Ashley Cole reckons Arsenal will rarely have a better chance to advance past Liverpool and reach the Carabao Cup final – but believes Jurgen Klopp’s side will just have too much for the Gunners over two legs.

The winners of the tie will be up against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea in the final at Wembley on February 27.  The match will give Tuchel a chance to bring more silverware to Stamford Bridge, though standing in their way will be one of Arsenal or Liverpool.

The first leg of the tie takes place at Anfield on Thursday evening, after the Reds brought around a Covid-related postponement last week. That brought around a heap of criticism against Klopp and Co.

However, despite having selection issues of their own, Cole reckons the Reds will just about progress to the final.

Citing the absence of Liverpool’s two leading lights, Cole still is backing Klopp’s side to edge his former side.

Looking ahead to the clash, Cole told Sky Sports, via Metro: “I think Liverpool have maybe a little bit too much for Arsenal.

“I know they’re going to be missing [Sadio] Mane and [Mohamed] Salah, but I just think it’ll be a little bit too much.

“It’ll be a great game, fascinating game to be honest.”

The Gunners head into the game looking to make amends after back-to-back defeats. While the loss to Manchester City was hard to take, Arsenal were poor in exiting the FA Cup at Nottingham Forest.

And he has told Arsenal there is no greater team to bounce back against than Liverpool.

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“They went to Nottingham Forest and underperformed,” Cole added.

“This will be a great opportunity for them to get in a final to stake a claim on getting back to where they feel they should be. And they should be.

“But again, you’re playing against a very, very difficult Liverpool team.”

Arteta admits to Carabao Cup selection issues

The Gunners travel to Anfield with several selection issues, brought about by AFCON absences, Covid-19 and injuries.

Asked if Arsenal could look to postpone the tie, Arteta was keeping level headed.

“You can never guarantee anything because you know that this changes dramatically in 10 seconds. We don’t want to see the doctor coming through and giving you the news.

“We have experienced that already twice this season. Our willingness is always to play.

“It’s extremely volatile and uncertain. I don’t know what the situation we’re gonna have today is, it’s different to the situation we had yesterday certainly.

“Obviously I cannot get into any detail with that but it’s what it is.”

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