MX23RW : Sunday, October 25 09:18:25| >> :60:2930:2930:
Oct 1, 2020 at 7.45pm UK at Anfield
LiverpoolLiverpool
0-0
ArsenalArsenal

Minamino (15'), Wilson (75')
FT
(aet)

Xhaka (51'), Soares (90+2')
Arsenal win 5-4 on penalties

Preview: Liverpool vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday night's EFL Cup fourth round tie between Liverpool and Arsenal, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

For the second time in four days, Liverpool host Arsenal at Anfield on Thursday night with a place in the fifth round of the EFL Cup up for grabs.

The Premier League champions dominated the top-flight meeting between the two sides on Monday, eventually running out 3-1 winners after falling behind.


Match preview

Liverpool players celebrate scoring against Arsenal on September 28, 2020© Reuters

Arsenal have undoubtedly made progress and appear to be on the right path under Mikel Arteta, but Monday's trip to Anfield was a reality check of sorts as Liverpool dominated throughout.

Jurgen Klopp's men boasted 66% possession and had 21 shots, taking their overall tally for their three Premier League games so far to 61 efforts at goal - at least 17 more than any other side.

Arteta himself admitted that Liverpool are still "superior in many aspects", yet there were also plenty of positives for the Gunners to take; they caught Liverpool's back line out on a couple of occasions during rare forays forward and, on another day, may have pinched a point from the game.

There was no doubting that the hosts were deserved winners, though, and the performance was another imperious statement of intent from the champions as they maintained their 100% start to the season.

A similarly dominant display against Chelsea the weekend before also helped to make a mockery of some of the pre-season predictions which tipped Manchester City as comfortable favourites to regain the Premier League crown.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp smiles after watching his side beat Arsenal on September 28, 2020© Reuters

Klopp has developed Liverpool into a winning machine, and that is particularly true at home where they have now won 16 of their last 18 outings across all competitions.

Anfield certainly seems to be the place to go for entertainment too, with Liverpool's last three home games having seen 19 goals fly in at either end - 12 of them scored by the hosts.

Nothing has been quite as high-scoring as the 5-5 classic these two sides played out when they met on Merseyside at the same stage of this competition last season, almost exactly a year ago to the day.

That 10-goal bonanza was eventually decided on penalties as Liverpool progressed, only to be knocked out in the next round while fielding their youth team against Aston Villa.

The Reds were in free-scoring form in the third round this season too, though, putting Lincoln City to the sword with a merciless 7-2 drubbing at the LNER Stadium last week.

Arsenal players celebrate scoring against Liverpool on September 28, 2020© Reuters

Arsenal have been on the wrong end of plenty of Liverpool thumpings themselves in recent years but, while they were smothered by the Reds' pressing game for long spells on Monday night, they will take heart from the fact that they stayed in the game until the closing stages.

Indeed, the Gunners have every reason to be confident of a different result against what is sure to be a much-changed Liverpool side on Thursday, having beaten the Reds twice in the last two months too.

Liverpool may point to the fact that neither last season's Premier League meeting nor the Community Shield were high up their priority list, but they added to Arteta's impressive and growing collection of big scalps he has already claimed as manager nonetheless.

The Spaniard looks well set to fare better in these games against fellow 'big six' opponents than Arsenal have done in the past, having already beaten Liverpool (twice), Manchester City and Chelsea since taking over.

There is still work to be done when it comes to making the team more resilient, though, with Arsenal having dropped 18 points from winning positions under Arteta - more than any other Premier League side in that time period.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on September 19, 2020© Reuters

Crucially, Arteta already has two trophies in his cabinet and success in the EFL Cup this season would complete a clean sweep of domestic cups as quickly as he could have possibly done so.

Arsenal have not won this particular trophy since 1992-93, though, and have only lifted it twice in their entire history - the same number as Norwich City, Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers and fewer than Leicester City and Nottingham Forest.

For a club of Arsenal's size, who have had unmatched success in the FA Cup and have regularly challenged for silverware in the Premier League era especially, that is a poor record and one which Arteta will be keen to improve.

They got off to a good start in that respect in the third round with a 2-0 triumph at in-form Leicester, when Eddie Nketiah added to a Christian Fuchs own goal.

Another victory on Thursday would send them through to the quarter-finals for the fourth time in the last five seasons, but as Arsenal have discovered more recently than anyone else, a trip to Anfield is the toughest assignment in English football at the moment.

Liverpool EFL Cup form: W
Liverpool form (all competitions): WWWW

Arsenal EFL Cup form: W
Arsenal form (all competitions): WWWL


Team News

Thiago Alcantara in action for Liverpool on September 20, 2020© Reuters

New Liverpool signing Thiago Alcantara had been expected to make his full debut for the club in the league meeting between these two sides on Monday, but the reason for his absence has now been confirmed as a positive coronavirus test.

The midfielder will therefore not be back until after the international break, ruling him out of the second leg of their double-header too.

Whether the Spain international would have started anyway is a point for debate given the tendency to make sweeping changes in this competition - something which is likely to be the case again for both sides in this match.

Youngsters such as Neco Williams, Rhys Williams, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott all started in the previous round against Lincoln and will be hoping for another run-out here, while Sepp van den Berg is also in contention.

Diogo Jota will be hoping that his goalscoring cameo off the bench on Monday is enough to earn him a starting spot, but fellow forwards Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino were both on the scoresheet against Lincoln and will expect to keep their places from the previous round.

A fit-again Xherdan Shaqiri and forgotten man Marko Grujic may also be handed starts again after both scored in the third round too.

The game is likely to come too soon for captain Jordan Henderson, while Joel Matip and former Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are still sidelined by injury.

Arteta surprised many by recalling David Luiz to the starting XI on Monday in place of Gabriel Magalhaes, who may be given the chance to continue his impressive start to life at the club in this game instead.

Arsenal's ability to rotate at the back is affected by injury troubles, though, with Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, Cedric Soares and Sokratis Papastathopoulos all struggling - although the latter duo could feature in some capacity here.

There could also be a debut for new goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson among the swathe of expected changes, with Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe, Eddie Nketiah, Sead Kolasinac and Dani Ceballos among the other players who could come into the side.

In addition to their defensive absentees, Arsenal are also still without Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Adrian; N Williams, Gomez, Van den Berg, Tsimikas; Jones, Grujic, Shaqiri; Elliott, Minamino, Origi

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Runarsson; Saliba, Gabriel, Kolasinac; Cedric, Willock, Ceballos, Saka; Pepe, Nketiah, Nelson


Head To Head

Monday's win was Liverpool's fifth in a row at home to Arsenal in the league - their longest run since a seven-game streak between 1981 and 1988.

Arsenal have not beaten Liverpool at Anfield in any competition since September 2012, while their most recent League Cup win at the ground came in their memorable 6-3 triumph in 2007, when Julio Baptista scored four times.

Thursday's showdown will be the 16th League Cup clash between the two sides, with Liverpool edging the head to head with six wins to Arsenal's five, including that unforgettable 5-5 thriller at the same stage last season.


SM words green background

We say: Liverpool 3-2 Arsenal

Thursday's match will likely be significantly different to Monday's as both sides make sweeping changes, but one thing this fixture seems to promise regardless of the individuals taking part is goals - the last three League Cup meetings alone have provided 22, at an average of more than seven per game.

It is the highest-scoring fixture in Premier League history and, while it may not quite live up to the 5-5 they played out here last season, we can still see an entertaining clash with Liverpool ending up in the quarter-finals.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

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Who will progress to the fifth round of the EFL Cup - Liverpool or Arsenal?

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Arsenal
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