Mikel Arteta has surprised Arsenal fans once again by deciding against handing William Saliba his competitive debut for the club.
The 19-year-old has been with the squad since the summer and featured in friendlies against Aston Villa and MK Dons but hasn’t played since his Under-23s outing against Brighton in mid-September but isn’t even on the bench this evening.
Arteta has gone strong with Bernd Leno starting in goal and what looks like a back four ahead of him.
Cedric Soares comes in for Hector Bellerin at right-back, while Rob Holding and Gabriel Magalhaes partner each other at centre-back and Sead Kolasinac plays left-back.
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The midfield is made up of Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka and Joe Willock and could shape up as either a midfield three or as a double pivot with either Willock or Ceballos as the No.10.
Xhaka will start as captain for the first team since he was stripped of the responsibility following his outburst at fans against Crystal Palace last season.
Moving to the front three, Nicolas Pepe returns on the right wing, while Eddie Nketiah leads the line and Bukayo Saka takes up the left wing.
Fans were also surprised to see Kolasinac start following rumours of his exit earlier in the week.
Heading into the game, Mikel Arteta didn’t hold a pre-match press conference, however, Jurgen Klopp’s assistant manager Pep Lijnders was on hand for Liverpool.
Asked about what he is expecting from Arteta in his second trip to Anfield in a week, he stressed just how strong the Gunners have been in domestic cups since the Spaniard. Of course, Arsenal beat Liverpool in the Community Shield but also swept Manchester City and Chelsea aside to lift the FA Cup in August.
“We go from Premier League to League Cup, so it’s a final,” Lijnders…