‘If I’m being honest’: Paul Merson predicts who’s going through between Arsenal and Liverpool now
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Paul Merson doesn't expect Arsenal to prioritise second-leg vs Liverpool

Paul Merson thinks Arsenal could hand Liverpool an early advantage in their Carabao Cup semi-final second leg next week. The Gunners have a decision to make.

Liverpool will be gutted with their performance vs Arsenal on Thursday evening. The Reds faced 10 men for the majority of the fixture at Anfield but mustered one shot on target. And that shot came in the final couple of minutes.

It was a very poor display and a massive opportunity missed. Liverpool now need to go to the Emirates and win, whereas they probably should be heading their with at least a two-goal lead.

Liverpool already gave away home advantage in this one, too. Arsenal weren’t supposed to host the second leg but last week’s postponement shifted the dynamic here. The Gunners now hold that advantage.

But are they about to throw a strong advantage away? Paul Merson thinks they might.

Will Arsenal hand over advantage vs Liverpool?

Arsenal have an injury problem, with several absences hindering what Mikel Arteta can do. But they’ve also got a mammoth fixture against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend – and it’s one they’ll want to win.

Can Arteta stretch his best XI across that fixture and the second leg against Liverpool next week, though? Merson isn’t sure they can.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

“Liverpool probably will still go through, if I’m being honest,” he told Sky Sports after the game. “[Arsenal’s] squad looks shallow at the moment, there’s no midfield players.

“Very rarely anybody wins a football match without a good midfield, or wins consistently.”

“It’s a hard week for Arsenal coming up,” he went on to say. “I can see them cementing a top-four place if they can beat Tottenham.

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

“But Arsenal will sit down, Arteta [will ask] ‘what’s the bigger game? Is it Sunday or is it Thursday’. I personally think it’ll be Sunday [vs Tottenham]”.

It’s a fair point. Arsenal look very, very thin at the moment but there’s little doubt they’ll go all-out on Sunday. Liverpool aren’t exactly flowing with options but they’ll expect a far lower tempo against Brentford at Anfield.

That might mean Arteta rotates in the second leg while Klopp doesn’t. There’s little doubt that such a turn of events could sway the tie.

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