LIVERPOOL. — Mikel Arteta saluted Arsenal’s band of brothers as his 10-man team pulled off an Anfield shut-out in their Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday night.
Granit Xhaka’s first-half red card for a foul on Diogo Jota left the Gunners to play with a man down for 66 minutes.
But they still restricted Liverpool to just one shot on target all night to leave next Thursday’s return leg on a knife edge.
Arteta said: “The players revelled in the situation and showed great fight, determination, attitude and brotherhood.
“You could see the emotion they were playing with and they never gave up. To survive here that long with 10 men is extremely difficult against this opponent.
“I said to them before the game that you need a certain attitude to play here because in difficult moments you have to act rather than react because then it becomes really complicated.
“We played the game we had to play which isn’t our game but we do not have any midfielders in the squad so whatever we did was not going to be natural.
“We played with a midfield three of Martinelli, Lonkonga and Saka and they have never played in that formation in their lives.
“But it doesn’t matter about the formation. Tonight was all about the attitude of the player and the quality of their decision making.”
Man-of-the-match Ben White admitted: “It wasn’t ideal to have that red card so early but Granit is looking at the ball and he doesn’t know where the man is.
“It’s hard enough to come here with 11 men but there is so much fight in this team and we showed that tonight.
“We dug deep and got the result we needed.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp claimed that the absence of star strikers Mo Salah and Sadio Mane as well as a number of players returning from false positive Covid tests had affected his team.
He said: “It’s strange because even without the symptoms the boys who came back were not exactly the same.
“It’s not an explanation but we have to consider that.
“I would have preferred to score the goal instead of them getting the red card because after that we had to change the system to be more creative and we couldn’t do that because we’re used to some movements that we don’t have right now. — The Sun.