Football: Liverpool frustrated by 10-man Arsenal in League Cup semi stalemate

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka was shown a red card for a challenge on Liverpool's Diogo Jota
Arsenal's Granit Xhaka was shown a red card for a challenge on Liverpool's Diogo Jota Photo credit: Getty Images

Liverpool were frustrated by 10-man Arsenal in a 0-0 League Cup semi-final first leg on Thursday at Liverpool, where the visitors defended superbly after Granit Xhaka's early sending off.

Switzerland international midfielder Xhaka was shown a red card in the 24th minute for a high challenge on Diogo Jota at the edge of the area, catching the Portuguese forward in the ribs and denying him a scoring opportunity.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta responded by bringing on defender Rob Holding in place of striker Eddie Nketiah, the hat-trick hero against League One side Sunderland in the quarter-finals, leaving Alexandre Lacazette as the lone man upfront.

Despite Liverpool enjoying most of the possession, Arsenal kept them out with an impressive performance under pressure and still looked dangerous on the break.

The hosts were toothless without their potent strike pairing of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who are playing at the Africa Cup of Nations for Egypt and Senegal respectively.

"I would have preferred to score the goal rather than them getting the red card, especially after the game now," Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp told Sky Sports.

"It's a two-leg game and it's halftime and I can't remember one time in my life when I was sitting with 0-0 at halftime wherever it was and thought, 'Oh, we have no chance anymore'."

The winners after next week's second leg at London will face Chelsea, who beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 on aggregate on Wednesday, in the final at Wembley on February 27.