Friday, 14 January 2022 10:05

Mikel Arteta hails Arsenal’s ‘spirit and brotherhood’ in draw with Liverpool.

Staff Reporter.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta praised his side's "fight, determination and brotherhood" after the 10-man Gunners frustrated Liverpool in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at Anfield.

Granit Xhaka was dismissed after 24 minutes for denying a goalscoring opportunity - the Swiss midfielder catching Diogo Jota with a high challenge on the edge of his penalty area as he attempted to cut out Andrew Robertson's pass.

Trent Alexander-Arnold could not punish Arsenal further from the resulting free-kick, however, and the visitors produced a resolute defensive display to leave on level terms.

Despite coming under intense pressure it was Arsenal who registered the first shot on target 71 minutes into the contest, but a poor first touch by Bukayo Saka allowed Alisson to smother the England international's shot at close range.

Takumi Minamino blazed over the crossbar when faced with an open goal with Liverpool's best chance of the match in the closing stages.

"They never gave up even though it's extremely difficult against this opponent," said Arteta.

"I said to the players before the game that you have to have a certain attitude and in difficult moments you have to react - I think the boys did that very well," he added.

"We played the game we had to play. I'm expecting now our fans will create an even better atmosphere [in the second leg] than today."

The second leg takes place at Emirates Stadium next Thursday at 19:45 GMT.

The winner will face Chelsea in the final at Wembley at the end of February, after Thomas Tuchel's side completed a 3-0 aggregate victory over Tottenham on Wednesday.