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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Rob Smyth

Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool: FA Cup third round – as it happened

Trent Alexander Arnold provided yet another assist for Liverpool’s opener at Arsenal.
Trent Alexander Arnold provided yet another assist for Liverpool’s opener at Arsenal. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

That’s all for today – goodnight!

The Liverpool captain Trent Alexander-Arnold speaks

We’ve got a lot of players missing today so it’s a huge result. We changed things around at half-time and created a lot of chances after that. In the first half there were times when we were a bit naïve; we got caught playing out from the back and they had their chances from our mistakes.

We mixed it up more – we want to get players like Harvey on the ball but also find Darwin and Lucho in behind. Darwin went wider and I think his speed, one on one with their full-back, made a real difference.

[On the first goal] You just want to hit an area and make it as difficult as possible for them to clear the ball. We hit the woodwork a couple of times so we had our chances as well, and we put them away at the end of the game

It’s a little odd to talk about a fightback when it was goalless at half-time – but Liverpool were battered in the first half by an Arsenal side playing with ferocious intensity. The decision to switch Nunez to the left and Diaz to the right was inspired, and as the second half progressed Liverpool looked increasingly menacing. The goals came late: an unfortunate own-goal from Jakub Kiwior and a sizzler from Luis Diaz.

Arsenal will feel hard done by, and to some extent they were, but there is a worrying pattern to their recent result: they’ve scored only five goals in the last seven games and kept only one clean sheet in the last nine.

Full time: Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool

Liverpool are still in four competitions after a brilliant fightback at the Emirates!

The front three once again combined extremely well. Nunez and Jota moved the ball across the field to Diaz, who took a quick touch and rammed a rising drive past Ramsdale at the near post. That’s a terrific finish from Diaz, who has been so much better since moving to right wing. Who knew?

GOAL! Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool (Diaz 90+5)

Luis Diaz caps a fine second-half performance from Liverpool!

Liverpool Luis Diaz scores.
Liverpool Luis Diaz scores. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian


90+4 min Alexander-Arnold is booked for pulling back Trossard (I think). He’s playing in midfield now – Conor Bradley has been superb since coming on at right-back.

90+3 min Corner to Arsenal on the left. Aaron Ramsdale stays back, disappointingly, and Alisson grabs Trossard’s inswinger with authority.

90+2 min Clark is booked for a tactical foul on Rice.

90+1 min Martinelli’s dangerous inswinging corner is headed away brilliantly by Nunez in the six-yard box. Liverpool break three on two but Diaz can’t force the ball square to Jota.

90+1 min Odegaard’s free-kick is headed behind for a corner by Nunez. It wasn’t a million miles from going into the net.

90 min Odegaard is legged up 25 yards from goal by Gravenberch, who is booked. There will be a modest four minutes of added time.


88 min: Arsenal substitution Emile Smith Rowe and Leandro Trossard replace Jakub Kiwior and Kai Havertz.

86 min The young substitute Conor Bradley does really well to match Martinelli for pace and then win a goalkick off him. The Emirates is as quiet as it has been all day.

86 min Despite playing very well for large parts of this contest, Arsenal are facing a third straight defeat and a fourth in seven games.

84 min An overeager Nunez fouls Saka just outside the Liverpool area on the right. Odegaard’s free-kick is missed by Havertz and rebounds wide off … well I thought Konate but a goalkick has been given.

Konate, incidentally, has had a stormer.

82 min Diaz curls over from distance after more bothersome play from Nunez. I know he misses chances, but he looks exceptionally unpleasant to play against. His relentlessness reminds me a bit of Preben Elkjaer in his swaggering pomp.

82 min: Arsenal substitution Eddie Nketiah is on for Jorginho.

Odegaard fouled Gravenberch on the left wing, although he didn’t agree with the decision. Alexander-Arnold clipped a wicked ball into the six-yard box, where the backpedalling Kiwior – who felt he had to go for the ball – headed it past Ramsdale.

GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool (Kiwior og 80)

Liverpool may have pinched it!

Liverpool celebrate scoring via an own goal from Jakub Kiwior.
Liverpool celebrate scoring via an own goal from Jakub Kiwior. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian


78 min: Jota hits the bar! The resulting corner is headed off the bar by Jota, and Nunez puts the rebound wide. It’s bizarre that this game is still goalless.

77 min: Fine save by Ramsdale! The front three combine superbly for Liverpool. Nunez flicks a long ball on to Jota, who runs at the defence and feeds Diaz. He runs from centre to left and cracks a low shot that is superbly tipped round the near post by Ramsdale. He had to get down so quickly.

75 min: Double substitution for Liverpool Bobby Clark, son of Le Tournoi 1997 winner Lee, and Conor Bradley replace Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott. The two players coming on have a combined age of 38, although the two they’re replacing aren’t exactly geriatricos either.


74 min “Arsenal 2007-08 were a thrilling young side who led the league for most of the season but were undone by their own callowness and a truly great United team,” says Max Williams. “Everyone thought it was the start of something but they never came as close again and the eventual loss of key players - namely Fabregas - ended an era that never truly arrived.

“There are parallels with the current iteration. Last season was meant to be the dawn of the Arteta era but I suspect it may prove its peak. How long will Odegaard and Saliba stay without major trophies? I would love to see this team win the league but I fear the moment may have already passed. In sport – in many things – the end tends to be closer than you think.”


71 min Elliott is booked for punching the air in the referee’s direction. The pace of the second half has been terrific, and there’s no sign of either team shutting up shop. A defeat is almost – almost - preferable to a draw.

70 min: Chance for Liverpool! Elliott clips a terrific first-time pass in behind Saliba. Nunez burns him off, and suddenly Liverpool have a two v one. Nunez draws Gabriel and tries to find Luis Diaz on the far side – but the pass is behind him and the danger passes.

Maybe Nunez, who made a goal for Mo Salah against Newcastle the other night when he was in a good position himself, should have been more selfish on this occasion.


69 min “We are having a post lunch debate here in the no man’s land twixt Liverpool and London, aka East Midlands,” says Kim Thonger. “Is it wrong generally to reminisce over goals from our youth, and in particular should we be ashamed that we remember vividly an example like this…”

Why on earth would you feel ashamed about that?

68 min Martinelli, who has looked sprightly since coming on, skins Alexander-Arnold twice in the space of 15 seconds. On both occasions Konate comes across to make a vital interception.

67 min “Here’s the duvet cover problem sorted,” says Liz White, “aka the burrito method.”

Who knew a little comment about the perils of playing out from the back could turn an MBM into Duvet Corner? This never happened during the glory days of John Beck’s Cambridge, and not only because there was no internet.

66 min Saliba is human, and now he’s been booked for pulling back the slippery Diogo Jota.

64 min A Liverpool break ends with a tame long-range shot from Elliott that is comfortably held by Ramsdale. Good game now. Arsenal look much likelier to score but they’ll be wary of Liverpool’s counter-attacks.

62 min: Arsenal substitution Reiss Nelson, who missed a couple of decent chances but pressed superbly, is replaced by Gabriel Martinelli.

61 min: Another chance for Arsenal! Havertz may not be clinical in front of goal but his movement is so good. He wanders out to the left again and hits a deflected cross that clawed away by the backpedalling Alisson, a very good save. The ball bounces beyond the far post to Saka, who slices it wide with his right leg.


59 min: Double substitution for Liverpool Ryan Gravenberch and Diogo Jota replace Alexis Mac Allister, who looked rusty, and Cody Gakpo.

58 min: Chance for Saka! This is really good stuff now. With Liverpool looking for offside, Havertz makes such a cute run to receive Odegaard’s free-kick in space on the left side of the area. Then he stands up a cross to the far post that is hooked over by Saka, whirling his left leg like an arthritic ninja. It was an awkward ball to take – slightly behind him, slightly too high – but it was still a good chance.


57 min Saliba makes a superbly judged challenge on the increasingly dangerous Nunez, who tried to outside him in the area. Saliba is… is he human? He really is phenomenal.

56 min “Duvet covers,” says Damian Clarke, who speaks with the authority of a man who has the same initials. “It’s all about getting the corners right.”

I don’t want to speak for Niall, but I suspect he knows it’s all about getting the corners right. The problem is actually getting the corners right.

54 min Nunez has come to life. He’s playing from the left now, with Diaz on the right and Gakpo as a false nine, and his movement is starting to cause problems. He collects a long ball near the byline, then cuts back inside White, running away from goal, before leathering a rising drive that flashes just wide of the far post.

Liverpool's Darwin Nunez in action.
Liverpool's Darwin Nunez in action. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters


53 min This time Diaz does find Nunez on another Liverpool counter-attack. Nunez can’t work the angle for a shot so he pokes the ball to Jones, who shoots miles over the bar from a tight angle. Wasn’t much of a chance. 0.08xG?

52 min Liverpool break dangerously through Diaz, who is unusually indecisive. His pass to Nunez is intercepted, and though he gets the ball back, he takes too long and runs into trouble.

51 min “Talking of resting heart rates of goalscorers,” begins Krishnamoorthy V, “I wonder what Ramirez’s was when he scored against Barcelona in the Camp Nou all those years ago. Those were the days when it was good to be a Chelsea fan…”

That goal has been harshly overshadowed by Gary Neville’s goalgasm Fernando Torres’s late clincher in the same game. Such a great pass from Frank Lampard as well.

50 min At the other end, Gomez blooters over from 25 yards. It was a pretty decent effort, though, to go with his near miss against Arsenal at Anfield before Christmas.

49 min It’s nice to see Bob Wilson, a giant of humanity never mind football and broadcasting, in the crowd at the Emirates. He almost has a goal to cheer when Saka spins behind Gomez, onto a long ball forward, and charges into the area. Gomez just manages to get back and take the sting out of Saka’s shot.

47 min “Liverpool’s attempts to play through the Arsenal press in the first half were like me trying to put a cover on a double duvet,” begins Niall Mullen. “Doomed to failure, humiliating for all concerned and probably best to just take the less classy option of launching it/sleeping with no duvet cover.”

46 min Peep peep! The second half is under way. A reminder that there are replays in the FA Cup third round, and neither team wants one.

“I can’t remember Arsenal playing a better half of football this season against a top rival,” says Kári Tulinius, “but the pattern so far in domestic competition is that the Gunners play well only in patches, so I worry for them after the break. On the other hand, nil-nil might keep their intensity from dropping, which has perhaps been the pattern’s underlying cause.”

“On Pires and Henry,” says Niall Mullen. “Perhaps their resting heart rates were too low at times.”

I’d love to know what Danny Mills’ blood pressure was as he upbraided them for disrespecting the Bing beautiful game.

Half-time entertainment

Half time: Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool

Forget the score: that was a fun, sometimes frantic first half in which Arsenal did everything but score. Kai Havertz and Reiss Nelson missed a number of chances and both captains, Martin Odegaard and Trent Alexander-Arnold, almost broke the respective crossbars.

45+3 min … and Nelson’s free-kick is headed away.

45+2 min Arsenal’s pressing has been fantastic today, as good as I can remember this season. They nick possession again on the stroke of half-time, which leads to a free-kick on the left wing. This will be the last attack of the half…

45+1 min Two minutes of added time.

45 min: Alexander-Arnold hits the bar! My word, what a strike. Gakpo slipped Jorginho cleverly in midfield and flicked the ball outside to the supporting Alexander-Arnold. He took a touch on the edge of the area and pinged a sizzling drive that was too quick for Ramsdale and clattered off the crossbar.

44 min: Chance for Havertz! For the umpteenth time, Liverpool get caught playing out from the back. Nelson wins the ball and gives it to Odegaard, who moves it across to Havertz just inside the area. Once again he takes his own sweet time before shooting too close to Alisson with defenders converging. Alisson can’t hold the shot, which took a slight deflection, but Quansah is waiting behind him to clear.

You want attackers to have a resting heart-rate in the opposition penalty area, like Robert Pires and Thierry Henry in Arsenal’s glory days, but Havertz is almost too relaxed.


43 min “Happy new(ish) year!” writes Alex Moffett. “It feels as if more of the top clubs are putting out strong teams for these third round matches than in recent years. Do you think this is a general trend of greater appreciation for the FA Cup or just a product of the local conditions of this season? Or am I hallucinating it in a flush of rosy-eyed new year’s optimism?”

The two-week Premier League break probably helps, though Liverpool are playing on Wednesday and they have a strong XI out here. It does feel like the big clubs are treating the domestic cups with greater affection, possibly because Manchester City have been so dominant in the Premier League.

40 min Quansah injures himself while standing on the ball, with nobody near him, but it looks like he’s okay to continue.

39 min: Chance for Havertz! The resulting corner is headed wide at the far post by Havertz. That was an excellent chance: he got above his marker with ease but didn’t get enough purchase on his downward header. Arsenal now lead 12-1 on attempts at goal.


38 min Saka runs at Gomez, whose well-timed tackle diverts the ball towards the edge of the area. White runs onto it and whistles a rising drive that is pushed over acrobatically by Alisson.

37 min Rice shoots straight at Alisson from distance.

34 min … which Alexander-Arnold curls onto the roof of the net from an extremely tight angle. If he was going for goal, the idea was poor; if he wasn’t, the execution was poor.

34 min Jones makes White look silly with a lovely bit of skill on the left wing, so White shoves him over. Free-kick to Liverpool…

32 min “When did you last see Saka beat a man?” wonders Joe Johnson. “Personally, I can’t remember. He’s tired, lost his mojo, been hit too many times – whatever. The basic metric of a fully functioning Saka is surely when he takes someone on and beats them, and I haven’t seen that for ages.”

Well, strictly speaking the answer is about five minutes ago, but I know what you mean – it feels like he has done it a lot less this season. It might be tactical rather than physical, though I agree he needs a break.


30 min Mac Allister is bullied off the ball by Rice inside the Liverpool half. Odegaard collects the loose ball, runs at the defence and reverses a pass to Havertz just inside the area. He takes his time, as is his wont, and the eventual shot deflects through to Alisson.

On the BBC, Alan Shearer implores him to shoot first-time.

27 min Saka changed his boots straight after that shot. Gen bloody Z, eh.

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka changes his boots.
Arsenal's Bukayo Saka changes his boots. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA


27 min Arsenal move the ball nicely from right to left, a move sparked by a surge infield from Saka. Eventually Nelson pushes the ball back to Saka, whose first-time shot from the edge of the box bobbles through to Alisson.

26 min Liverpool are starting to improve, though they still look disjointed in attack.

24 min Jorginho tells Gakpo to eff off after being penalised for pulling him back. The referee John Brooks calls him over for a quick word.

22 min Elliott’s outswinging corner is headed across goal and wide by Nunez. It was a pretty tricky chance; he needed somebody following in at the far post.

21 min Better from Liverpool. Alexander-Arnold slips an inviting ball down the inside-right channel for Nunez, whose cross is turned behind by White.

20 min The pace has dropped in the last few minutes, though Arsenal continue to play with greater intensity. Liverpool have been strangely passive.

18 min Liverpool have actually had more of the ball, which tells a story that isn’t worth reading. All six goal attempts have been from Arsenal.

15 min Liverpool aren’t yet at the races. Arsenal have been so last season, and that’s a compliment.

11 min: Odegaard hits the bar! Arsenal are all over Liverpool and could have scored three times in the space of five seconds. Gomez dithered on the ball and was robbed by Saka, with Havertz collecting possession on the right side of the area. He picked out Nelson, whose shot was brilliantly blocked by Konate. The ball rebounded to Odegaard, who leathered it off the crossbar, and then another Arsenal player, Saka I think, had a close-range shot blocked,

Arsenal's Martin Odegaard shoots at goal and hits the crossbar.
Arsenal's Martin Odegaard shoots at goal and hits the crossbar. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters


11 min Saka is limping a little after being accidentally caught on the achilles by Diaz. I think he’s okay.

8 min Saka’s fast, inswinging corner is flicked on at the near post by Steve Bould and scrambled clear at the far. Moments later, Havertz’s curler from 20 yards is comfortably saved to his right by Alisson.

7 min Arsenal have made a really fast start. After a well-worked throw-in on the right, Nelson’s shot from the edge of the area spins behind off a Liverpool defence.

6 min Saka finds Odegaarsd in a good position on the edge of the area. He eschews the shot, a little surprisingly, and instead helps the ball across to Nelson. The move peters out.

5 min Elliott is fouled on the right wing by Nelson. Alexander-Arnold’s ball is overhit and White allows it run out for a throw-in.

3 min: Chance for Arsenal! Ramsdale pings a beautiful 70-yard pass to put Nelson through on goal. Alisson hesitates, which allows Nelson to go round him, but the toutch makes the angle too tight and he shoots into the side netting.

Reiss Nelson of Arsenal runs with the ball past Alisson Becker of Liverpool but can’t score.
Reiss Nelson of Arsenal runs with the ball past Alisson Becker of Liverpool but can’t score. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images


1 min Peep peep! Harvey Elliott gets the match under way, with Liverpool kicking from right to left as we watch.

“So – Ramsdale,” says Charles Antaki. “The general feeling amongst Arsenal fans seems to be that Arteta has put himself in an unwinnable position: effectively abandoning a likeable man-of-the-people player (who looks humanly hurt) in favour of a not-obviously better keeper (whose emotions are unreadable, beyond looking a bit dazed much of the time).

“Ramsdale has a free hit today; play well and more credit accrued to his side of the ledger; play poorly and the blame will probably fall on Arteta. Eventually Ramsdale will go, and the waters will close over him, as they do with any player, but that time still seems a little far off.”

I’m interested that you say it’s a free-hit; from the outside it looks like he can’t really win. He could save four penalties and Raya would still be in goal against Crystal Palace in a fortnight’s time.


Here come the players – Arsenal in white, Liverpool in their purple third kit.


We’re about to find out whether he gets his wish

“As a Liverpool fan I’ll take any result except for a draw,” says Niall Mullen. “Or maybe a win. I’m not sure this is the squad to compete on all fronts and we need to be wary of Generals Janvier and Fevrier as they have done for us in past campaigns.”

I think the squad is big enough, especially as you’re in the Europa League rather than the Champions League. Liverpool are almost uniquely dangerous when they get on a roll, whether it’s during an Anfield comeback or across a season, so I’d want to stay in as many competitions as possible. Easy for me to say, in my ivory tower.

Arsenal will wear a special white kit today to support the No More Red campaign against knife crime and youth violence.

Harvey Elliott will play wide on the right, Jurgen Klopp has confirmed, so that presumably means Cody Gakpo will play as a No8.


So far this piece has been read 109,739 times

Today's FA Cup results

  • Luton 0-0 Bolton

  • Man City 5-0 Huddersfield

  • Nottm Forest 2-2 Blackpool

  • Peterborough 0-3 Leeds

  • Shrewsbury 0-1 Wrexham

  • West Brom 4-1 Aldershot

  • West Ham 1-1 Bristol City

The past is a foreign country, they have never-ending semi-finals there

Oh I say!

Team news

Both managers have picked strong sides, so we should be in for a decent game. Arsenal bring in Aaron Ramsdale, Jorginho and Reiss Nelson for David Raya, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli. Kai Havertz is likely to start up front.

Liverpool make four changes, all enforced: Jarell Quansah, Harvey Elliott, Alexis Mac Allister and Cody Gakpo replace Virgil van Dijk (ill), Dominik Szoboszlai, Endo and Mo Salah (international duty).

Arsenal (possible 4-1-2-3) Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior; Jorginho; Odegaard, Rice; Saka, Havertz, Nelson.
Substitutes: Raya, Cedric, Walters, Sousa, Smith Rowe, Nwaneri, Trossard, Martinelli, Nketiah.

Liverpool (possible 4-1-2-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Quansah, Gomez; Mac Allister; Gakpo, Jones; Elliott, Nunez, Diaz.
Substitutes: Kelleher, Jota, Gravenberch, Clark, Bradley, Nyoni, Chambers, Gordon, McConnell.

Referee John Brooks.


There are seven 2pm games in the FA Cup third round, and a couple of Premier League sides are having tricky afternoons. Huddersfield have just got their fourth at the Etihad, and yep we are talking about throw-ins. Dominic Booth has the latest.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of Arsenal v Liverpool at the Emirates. It’s the tie of the FA Cup third round, between two of English football’s holy trinity – and while it’s not the be-all and end-all for either team, their managers know the value of this competition. The FA Cup remains Mikel Arteta’s only trophy as Arsenal manager, and the goodwill from that success may have saved his job when Arsenal were 15th in the league on Christmas Day 2020.

The following season Liverpool came within a couple of games of a quadruple, and the domestic cup runs helped generate an almost irresistible momentum. Until then Jurgen Klopp never seemed too bothered about the FA Cup, but now – with Liverpool also in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup – he is up for another busy spring.

As always in the FA Cup, the team news will be a statement of intent, apathy or pragmatism. Liverpool host Fulham in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday night, so Klopp has a bit of juggling to do. Arsenal have a fortnight off after this, replays notwithstanding; that and their poor recent form may tempt Arteta to pick a full-strength side. We’ll soon find out.

Kick off 4.30pm.

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