ARSENAL lost 2-0 to Liverpool in the Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg at the Emirates on Thursday after drawing the first-leg 0-0 at Anfield.
Takehiro Tomiyasu had an absolute shocker at right-back while Martin Odegaard’s calmness and class in midfield meant he was one of few bright sparks for the home side.
Alexandre Lacazette hit the bar with a free-kick in the early stages after Bukayo Saka was brought down on the edge of the box.
And just minutes later Diogo Jota left Takehiro Tomiyasu for dead before his scuffed effort wrong-footed Aaron Ramsdale and trickled over the line.
It was a fairly attritional affair for the remainder with neither team creating any huge chances until Jota sealed the win with 13 minutes to go.
Arsenal lost the ball in sloppy fashion in the middle of the park, Trent Alexander-Arnold looped a trademark ball over the top, and Jota took it on his chest and dinked it over the on-rushing Ramsdale.
It survived a VAR check that showed Gabriel just played him onside and the Merseysiders cruised to the end without being troubled.
And here’s what SunSport’s William Pugh thought of the Gunners’ individual performances.
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AARON RAMSDALE – 6/10
Couldn’t do much for the first goal as Jota’s mis-hit fooled everyone.
Huge double save just before the hour mark when he kept Ibrahima Konate’s header out from a corner before blocking Jordan Henderson’s goal-bound effort from the floor.
Wasn’t to know the England midfielder was offside for the second one.
Well beaten by a great Jota finish for 2-0.
TAKEHIRO TOMIYASU – 3
Had an absolute stinker.
Beaten too easily by Jota as the Portuguese dribbled round him to tuck home the opening goal.
Generally sloppy in and out of possession from then on.
Booked for tugging back Curtis Jones after he let the Liverpool midfielder nick it off him.
GABRIEL – 5
Stood up to everything thrown at him.
Couldn’t be blamed for Liverpool’s opener and then largely saw the game played in front of him.
Played Jota onside – JUST – as the winger took it on his chest and sealed Liverpool’s win.
BEN WHITE – 5
Solid enough for most of the evening. Couldn’t do anything for Jota’s opener.
But let the winger past him too easily in the second-half and saw his blushes saved when Kaide Gordon blasted Jota’s pass over the ball.
Vital block of an Alexander-Arnold cross just past the hour mark which prevented an almost certain Liverpool goal.
KIERAN TIERNEY – 6
Professional performance. Earned his money.
Took a whack in the face from Ramsdale in the second-half which was about the most exciting thing involving the Scot to occur all night.
ALBERT SAMBI LOKONGA – 6
Looked a little flustered on occasion as he played at the base of midfield with Odegaard.
Played a superb ball through to Lacazette which the Frenchman should have scored on 48 minutes.
No huge impact but OK overall.
BUKAYO SAKA – 5
One of his quieter games.
Struggled against Robertson down Arsenal’s right as Liverpool’s deep defensive block made counter-attacks difficult for the Gunners.
MARTIN ODEGAARD – 7
Classy and calm under pressure throughout.
Played slightly deeper to assist Lokonga and looked a cut above his team-mates.
The Gunners missed his creative influence further up the pitch where he usually plays.
EMILE SMITH ROWE (subbed 73mins) – 4
The game largely passed him by.
Fluffed a big chance on the hour mark when a cleared Arsenal corner fell to him on the edge of the box but he blazed over.
And killed a promising Gunners break with 23 to go when his weak pass to Saka was easily intercepted as Liverpool were on the ropes.
Understandably hauled off as the Gunners looked for an equaliser.
GABRIEL MARTINELLI – 6
Full of energy and running and had Alexander-Arnold worried on occasion.
But lacked end product whenever he got into a decent position.
Beat Alexander-Arnold to force an easy save from Caoimhin Kelleher in the second-half.
Looked like he was playing better than he actually was. Frustrating for Gooners no doubt.
ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE (subbed, 73mins) – 5
His free-kick was destined for the top corner before Kelleher got a finger tip to it and brushed it onto the crossbar.
Booked for a late challenge on Curtis Jones just before the break.
Blazed over the bar when played through by Sambi Lokonga early in the second-half.
Hooked as Mikel Arteta chased an equaliser.
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EDDIE NKETIAH (replaced Lacazette) – 5
Zero impact from the bench.
THOMAS PARTEY (replaced Smith Rowe) – 3
Was praised in the build up for turning up at the game straight from the airport where he landed at midday from Afcon duty with Ghana.
And made Arteta wish he’d stayed in Cameroon when he was shown two quickfire yellow cards and was sent off with mere minutes remaining.
The first was shown on 87 minutes before a stupid lunge on Fabinho three minutes later sealed his fate.
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