It’s Arsenal 5 Liverpool 4
Despite dumping Liverpool out of the Carabao Cup 5-4 on penalties, Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta believes there is still a huge gap between his side and the reigning Premier League champions.
The Gunners scraped a victory over the Reds on Thursday night after a goalless 90 minutes with goalkeeper Bernd Leno proving decisive for them in a penalty shootout.
Arsenal have now won three out of four games played against Liverpool since Arteta took charge at the Emirates – with two of those victories confirmed via spot-kicks.
The Reds did, however, beat the Gunners 3-1 in the Premier League last month and accrued 43 more points in the league last season.
In advancing to the English Football League (EFL) Cup quarter-finals, the Gunners boss was quick to admit that there remains a considerable difference between the two clubs right now
Arteta says fully aware of the need to keep improving, his side are on the right track as they look to reach Liverpool’s level, noting; “I am really happy with the performance. I think the boys were exceptional. We corrected a few things from Monday and it was superb.”
Arteta told Sky Sports post-match that; “We competed much better, the level of aggression we had, the way we pressed them really high was exceptional.
“Bernd Leno was really good. When we needed him we had him. You need a top individual performance to win at Anfield and that is what we had tonight.
“I really have belief in Bernd. I know him really well and what he can give us. We didn’t want Emiliano Martínez to go but it was probably the right thing for both parties to do.
“To come here and play with the determination and courage is a big step forward for the team. They are on the right path.
“The gap towards Liverpool is still big. We will keep improving to try and reach their level.”
Arsenal have been drawn against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals and Arteta is ready to once again take on the club he learned his trade at under Pep Guardiola.
“I was waiting and enjoying the victory and then we have to play Manchester City. It is what is, there are a lot of tough teams left in the competition and we will prepare for it”, he said
Jurgen Klopp made several changes to the team that beat Arsenal in the league 3-1 on Monday and their opponents also did some squad rotation. So, it was always unlikely to be a high-class encounter.
Liverpool had the better chances and should have been awarded a 44th-minute penalty when Diogo Jota was brought down in the box. The resulting free kick eventually saw Takumi Minimino finding space and smashing his close-range shot onto the crossbar.
Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno made two consecutive saves to stop Jota and Marko Grujic and the visitors responded with a chance as Rob Holding’s header was punched away by Adrian in the 70th minute.
Also, the Gunners had a penalty appeal in stoppage time when James Milner fell and handled the ball but referee Kevin Friend did not point to the spot and there was no VAR in the competition.
Arsenal, however, celebrated in shootout when Joe Willock’s spot kick crept under keeper Adrian to send them through. – With goal.com reports