Predicted Arsenal line-up vs Liverpool, Tomiyasu and Smith Rowe return

Ian Wright hails 'fantastic' Takehiro Tomiyasu against Norwich
Ian Wright hails 'fantastic' Takehiro Tomiyasu against Norwich

Arsenal face Liverpool on the road in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final tie on Thursday.

The first leg was initially scheduled to be played at the Emirates Stadium last week, but it was postponed after a coronavirus outbreak within the Reds camp.

Jurgen Klopp has since admitted that there were several ‘false positives’ which has frustrated many clubs in the country. A complaint has been lodged to EFL.

This should have no impact on the Cup tie. The Gunners will be hoping to produce a strong display at Anfield, where they have had a poor record over the years.

Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu were out with minor injuries in the shock FA Cup third round exit to Nottingham Forest. The duo may return.

Granit Xhaka has been sidelined with coronavirus for 10 days. He could test negative in the lead-up. His availability could be kept a secret until match day.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Predicted Line-up:

Bernd Leno got a rare outing at City Ground last weekend with regular goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale being rested. The German made key saves, but could not prevent Lewis Grabban’s late winner for Forest. He could drop to the bench with Ramsdale returning between the sticks.

Mikel Arteta should revert to his preferred four-man backline. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kieran Tierney should start in the full-back roles with Gabriel Magalhaes, who is available after a one-match suspension, partnering Ben White at the heart of the defence.

Charlie Patino was handed his full Gunners debut alongside Albert Sambi Lokonga last weekend. The youngster had a tough game as he was regularly out of position. Lokonga did not help him much either. The Belgian was dispossessed in the lead-up to Forest’s winner.

It is uncertain whether Xhaka will be deemed fit. In case of his absence, we fancy Lokonga to play in a double midfield pivot with Martin Odegaard. This should open up a spot for Emile Smith Rowe in his preferred number 10 position.

Out wide, there are no doubts for Arteta with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli guaranteed starters when fit and available. Eddie Nketiah was disappointing up front against Forest and could be dropped to the bench.

Alexandre Lacazette also failed to influence proceedings off the bench on Sunday, but the Frenchman’s form has been impressive since December. He has excelled with his link-up play while making five goal contributions.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com

Read: Juventus midfielder Arthur wants to play for Arsenal over Sevilla.

Arsenal advancing negotiations with Juventus for Arthur.

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