Diogo Jota fired Liverpool into the final of the Carabao Cup as they beat Arsenal 2-0 on aggregate.
Arsenal had held for a resilient goalless draw with 10 men in the first leg seven days ago, but Diogo Jota broke their resistance on 19 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, and added a second with 13 minutes to go to seal the victory.
The Gunners saw another player dismissed as Thomas Partey, back early from the Africa Cup of Nations after Ghana’s surprise exit, was sent off in the 90th minute for two bookings having only come on as a substitute 16 minutes earlier.
Liverpool will face Chelsea in the final at Wembley on Sunday, February 27, taking Jurgen Klopp closer to a first domestic trophy with the club.
Arsenal started brilliantly – with Alexandre Lacazette hitting the crossbar from an early free-kick – but a warning shot from Liverpool changed the course of the game.
Joel Matip was alert to poke in from Fabinho’s header on a corner, but was flagged offside.
It seemed to make Arsenal a little jittery, and six minutes later Jota brilliantly took advantage as he picked up a pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold before cutting inside Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ben White, then finding the bottom corner with a slightly scuffed finish past the stretched arm of Aaron Ramsdale. And with 13 minutes to go it was Jota again who sealed the game.
Alexander-Arnold was the man with the pass again as he lifted one over the top into his run, and the Portuguese forward raced through to dink over Ramsdale. Initially flagged offside, the goal was eventually given by VAR.
It was a couple of days to forget for Thomas Partey. After Ghana had crashed out of AFCON, the midfielder was rushed back by Arsenal and, despite only landing back in London at 12pm on the day of the game, was named on the bench by Mikel Arteta.
Introduced in the second half by Mikel Arteta in a bid to salvage the game, Partey instead picked up two quick yellow cards, leading to an early bath.