Diogo Jota double sends Liverpool into Carabao Cup final against Chelsea, as 10-man Arsenal miss out

Diogo Jota celebrates scoring for Liverpool

Liverpool have reached the final of the Carabao Cup after winning the second leg of their tie with Arsenal 2-0 thanks to a Diogo Jota double.

After the first leg at Anfield had ended as a goalless draw, the two sides reconvened at the Emirates Stadium with a place in the final at stake.

Arsenal, who had not played at the weekend after their successful request to postpone the north London derby, brought three players into their lineup. Takehiro Tomiyasu, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard all recovered in time to make it. The latter played in a deeper midfield role to replace Granit Xhaka after his red card in the reverse fixture.

Liverpool swapped Caoimhin Kelleher in for Alisson Becker in goal. Meanwhile, there were starts for Kaide Gordon and Curtis Jones, neither of whom had started the first leg.

Arsenal started the game in lively fashion, going close when Alexandre Lacazette hit the crossbar from a free kick, via Kelleher’s fingertips.

A set piece led to Liverpool’s first chance of note at the other end too. After a corner from Andy Robertson, Joel Matip connected with Fabinho’s headed effort to divert the ball into the net. However, he was offside, so the goal did not count.

But they did take the lead for good shortly after. Trent Alexander-Arnold picked out Diogo Jota, who drove inside and squeezed a shot in between diving defenders and beyond Aaron Ramsdale. He scuffed it somewhat, but it was still enough to breach Ramsdale’s goal.

Arsenal tried to get back into it before the break, but there were few further clear-cut chances for either side.

Liverpool made a half-time change when Ibrahima Konate came on for a relatively out-of-sorts Joel Matip.

The first chance of the second half, just like the first, fell to Lacazette. As the ball bounced, though, he struck his effort over the bar, with Robertson maybe putting him off as he tracked back.

Liverpool should have doubled their lead when Jota raced down the left with trickery before setting up Gordon, but the teenager lifted it over the bar from the middle of the box.

Another big chance came when Konate powered a header against the post from Alexander-Arnold’s corner.

At the other end, Gabriel Martinelli was leading Arsenal’s efforts to equalise. He forced Kelleher to beat away one attempt from a wide angle, for instance.

Diogo Jota wins it for Liverpool

Liverpool doubled their lead when Jota controlled a long pass from Alexander-Arnold and dinked it over Ramsdale. He was ruled offside, but VAR checked it and found the goal was legal.

With 10 minutes left, Arsenal now had to up the ante further. Martinelli took the initiative again, firing an effort over.

But things got worse for them when, just like in the first leg – but a lot later – they had a man sent off. Thomas Partey, returning as a substitute after his African Cup of Nations exit with Ghana, received a second yellow card just before stoppage time.

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The Gunners now have just the Premier League to focus on for the rest of the season.

Liverpool, in contrast, are still competing on four fronts; they also remain in the FA Cup and Champions League.

Chelsea will await the winners after beating Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 on aggregate. The final takes place at Wembley Stadium on February 27th.

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