Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admits his side are “desperate” to reach a Wembley final for the first time in six years as they face Arsenal (Match betting – Liverpool 5/6, draw 11/4, Arsenal 3/1) at Anfield.
The first leg of the semi-final gets underway on Thursday, a week later than billed after Liverpool’s Covid cases saw the game called off.
It is scheduled to go ahead, though both teams are suffering with absences brought on by the ongoing African Cup of Nations.
Liverpool will be without star forward duo Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, while Naby Keita is also unavailable.
Meanwhile, Arsenal will be missing Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe, Mohamed Elneny, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, though the latter has been out of action for some time after a fall out with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.
Liverpool are seeking to win their first domestic cup competition since 2012 when they beat Cardiff City on penalties in the League Cup (Outright – Liverpool 2/1, Arsenal 7/2) final.
They last played a Wembley showpiece in Klopp’s first season back in 2016, where they were beaten in a shootout by Manchester City.
Since then, Klopp has tended to rotate his squad for cup matches and their best run was a League Cup semi-final in 2017.
Now, the ex-Borussia Dortmund manager says winning trophies is hugely important and says he wants to win the EFL Cup, though accepts Arsenal will be tough opponents.
“Yeah, we are desperate – we want to go through, definitely,” the German told his pre-match press conference
“But we are here to win trophies. That’s a trophy and we are actually quite determined to get through this.
“But there’s a big hurdle in between this now and then. Arsenal are in a really good shape so it will not be easy but we will give it a proper try.”
The winners of the two-legged tie will face Chelsea at Wembley next month after they overcame Tottenham 3-0 on aggregate.