Diogo Jota fired Liverpool into the League Cup final against Chelsea as the Portugal forward’s double sealed a 2-0 win at Arsenal in the semi-final second leg on Thursday.
Jota put Liverpool on course for Wembley with a first half strike and he clinched their berth with a late second goal in north London.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will face Chelsea in the final on February 27.
Jota’s 13th and 14th club goals this season underlined his value at a time when Liverpool are without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane due to the African Cup of Nations.
The Reds, who last lifted the League Cup in 2012, are back in the final for the first time since 2016 as they aim to win the competition for a record ninth time.
It will be Klopp’s fifth cup final with Liverpool since he took charge in 2015.
In the week that Liverpool’s former chief executive Peter Robinson died aged 86, it was fitting the club returned to the final of a tournament they won four years in a row under his stewardship in the 1980s.
For Arsenal, it was a frustrating loss after they managed to grind out a 0-0 draw in last week’s first leg at Anfield despite Granit Xhaka’s red card.
Mikel Arteta’s youthful side were exposed by battle-hardened opponents, emphasising the improvements still needed to revive the Gunners.
Thomas Partey’s stoppage-time dismissal for two bookings in quick succession rubbed salt into their wounds.
Arsenal were unable to field a team when they successfully asked for last weekend’s north London derby against Tottenham to be postponed.
But Arteta sent out close to a full strength side just days later as fit-again trio Takehiro Tomiyasu, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard all returned.
Caoimhin Kelleher replaced Alisson Becker in goal for Liverpool and quickly repaid Klopp’s faith with a superb save in the fifth minute.
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I’ve No Plan To Leave Tottenham, Says Conte
Tottenham Hotspur manager, Antonio Conte, has decided to stay at the club ahead of next season, after guiding them back into the Champions League.
Spurs thrashed Norwich 5-0 on the final day of the Premier League to pip rivals Arsenal to fourth spot.
However, Conte refused to commit his future to the club after that match.
The Italian tactician held talks with managing director Fabio Paratici in Turin on Friday.
It is believed the pair discussed summer transfer targets and Conte has now opted to remain at Tottenham, according to The Telegraph.
Having replaced Nuno Espirito Santo last November, the 52-year-old won 17 of his 28 league games in charge.
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UCL Final: McManaman Tips Real Madrid To Beat Liverpool
Former Liverpool star, Steve McManaman, has insisted that the club’s management are doing a fantastic job, saying that everything they touch turns to gold at the moment.
McManaman said this while giving his verdict on Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid on Saturday night in Paris.
The 50-year-old, who played for Liverpool and Real Madrid in the past, insisted that the Reds are an impossible team to play against when they are on it.
According to him, he wants Liverpool to be successful as they face Real Madrid at the Stade de France.
“I’m in a no-win, no-lose situation,” McManaman told DW. “I have got friends in both camps, and all these years on, Real Madrid still have the same kitman and a lot of the same physios working there.
“So to see these types of people is an incredible thing that you want them to do well.
“But I still work at the Liverpool Academy and I want Liverpool to be successful – that goes without saying.”
He added, “Liverpool are an impossible team to play against when they’re on it – and they’re on it all the time it seems.
“Even in finals that have gone to extra time, they just always seem to find a way. And they haven’t had an easy run this year, drawn into a group with AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Porto – they steamrolled the group – and then beating the likes of Inter Milan too.
“Klopp has done an exceptional job with the team. I think the staff around Klopp are doing an amazing job. And also the people upstairs who were buying and selling the players – everything they touch seems to turn to gold at this moment.”
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Why Salah, Mane Must Leave Liverpool, Agbonlahor Speaks
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have been told to leave Liverpool if the club fail to meet their demands.
Aston Villa legend, Gabriel Agbonlahor, wonders why Liverpool are finding it difficult to tie up the two African stars while players they are far better than are receiving the same pay at other clubs.
He argued that if Kevin de Bruyne is getting a new deal and higher pay at Manchester City, who are also ready to pay new signing Erling Haaland his fat wages, and even Jadon Sancho at Manchester United then Mane and Salah deserve more.
He told talkSPORT, “They’re going to want their value, Salah and Mane, and if Liverpool aren’t willing to give them that…
“If you don’t, they’ll move on and that’s what Mane’s probably thinking.
“Why should they stay?”
Salah and Mane have scored more than 275 goals for Liverpool between them but are facing an uncertain future at the club with their respective contracts set to expire next summer.
Mane could be set to play his last match for Liverpool in the Champions League final as the 31-year-old has been heavily linked with a summer move to Bayern Munich.
1,094 total views, 544 views today
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