Still feeling robbed after defeat to Manchester City, here’s our predicted Arsenal lineup to face Liverpool in the League Cup semi-final first leg.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal reacts after the Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at Emirates Stadium on December 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal reacts after the Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at Emirates Stadium on December 11, 2021. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

On this occasion, there’s no doubt at all that Arsenal will be making at least two changes. Gabriel Magalhaes is suspended, and Thomas Partey has left the club to link up with his Ghana teammates for AFCON. At the very least, those two won’t be involved.

Nicolas Pepe also won’t be coming back into the team, like he did to good effect with a goal and two assists against Sunderland, nor will Mohamed Elneny, as they’ll both be on AFCON duty as well.

But with an early-round FA Cup game against Nottingham Forest at the weekend and five days of recovery after the Manchester City game, Mikel Arteta (and/or Albert Stuivenberg) will probably name a fairly similar side to the City match – with a few exceptions.

Here’s our Arsenal predicted lineup to face Liverpool on Thursday.

Goalkeeper

Bernd Leno during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London Copyright: Mark Pain
Bernd Leno during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London Copyright: Mark Pain

This is one of those exceptions. Bernd Leno has only really been given a chance in the cup games in recent months, and it would be a big blow to his morale if he no longer even got starts in those.

Aaron Ramsdale may find himself out of the team for a few games, given the next three fixtures are all cup matches. But he’s had plenty of match action over the last few months.

Defence

LONDON, ENGLAND: Rob Holding of Arsenal warms up ahead of the Premier League match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on October 18, 2021. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Rob Holding of Arsenal warms up ahead of the Premier League match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on October 18, 2021. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

As mentioned, Gabriel is suspended, and Rob Holding will probably take his place. But other than that, it’s likely to be a similar defence to the City game.

Kieran Tierney, Ben White, and Takehiro Tomiyasu should all have plenty of time to rest before and after this game, and it would be better to play them in this leg than the second leg, which is days before the North London derby.

There’s a possibility Arteta could look to replace the full-backs with Cedric Soares and Nuno Tavares, but again, it would be better to use those two against Nottingham Forest and in the second leg.

Midfield

London, England, 22nd September 2021. Albert Sambi Lokonga of Arsenal during the Carabao Cup match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture credit should read: David Klein / Sportimage SPI-1207-0050
London, England, 22nd September 2021. Albert Sambi Lokonga of Arsenal during the Carabao Cup match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture credit: David Klein / Sportimage

Arsenal’s midfield options are running low, but Granit Xhaka and Albert Sambi Lokonga are both available to start. Ahead of them, Emile Smith Rowe could come in to give Martin Odegaard a break and Smith Rowe a rare recent chance to start.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles recently returned to the squad after his positive Covid-19 test, and Charlie Patino should make the squad, but those two are a safer bet for the Forest game.

Forwards

NORWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their team's first goal during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road on December 26, 2021 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road on December 26, 2021. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

With Pepe gone, Bukayo Saka has more than one reason to start this match. Four goals and two assists in his last five games is the other big one.

Similarly, Alexandre Lacazette is the only likely option up front without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (AFCON) or Eddie Nketiah – who has just tested positive for Covid.

Nketiah’s absence also means he isn’t an option on the left, and if Folarin Balogun is going to come in, it will probably be against Nottingham Forest rather than Liverpool. So that means another start for Gabriel Martinelli too.

Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Liverpool

Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Liverpool created using Chosen11.com
Predicted Arsenal lineup vs Liverpool created using Chosen11.com