Mikel Arteta is developing a reputation as a cup specialist, but he admitted the thrill of winning at Anfield was curtailed when the news of the quarter-final Carabao Cup draw came through. “I was celebrating in the dressing room when I heard it was City next,” the Arsenal manager said. “Obviously that’s a team I know very well and we will have a hard game in store, but we will prepare for it and try to do well.”
Arsenal won on penalties after a goalless 90 minutes against Liverpool, something else Arteta seems to be good at organising. “We do practice taking penalties for shootouts,” he said. “But it all depends on how calm the player is on the night. When I saw Ainsley Maitland-Niles’s body language as he walked up to take his shot I thought he might be too calm, but he put his shot away so that was all right.” Arteta had praise for goalkeeper Bernd Leno, as Jürgen Klopp did, but also Bukayo Saka, just called up to the England squad by Gareth Southgate. “I am extremely happy for him, he’s an incredible talent and he deserves his chance.”
Klopp praised the young players in his team but also offered congratulations to Leno, who kept Arsenal in the game. “We could have been more clinical, but he played really well and I told him so,” the Liverpool manager said. “We kept him busy in the second half, we probably warmed him up for the penalty shoot.”
Asked whether he would have preferred to win this game or the Monday night encounter Klopp said he would have liked to win them both. “But we already have the three points from Monday so I am happy with that.
“Considering those young lads only had two days to train together I think we did really well against Arsenal. We only lost in the penalties, it would have been a draw in a league game and against Arsenal that it a good result, I think. Particularly as we had the better chances in the game. We probably did enough to deserve to win, but we didn’t, and you have to accept that. I was pleased with the quality we showed but tonight it just didn’t work out. I can’t be completely happy because we lost, but I liked a lot of parts to our game.”
Klopp seemed to hint that Xherdan Shaqiri – outstanding in the third-round win at Lincoln – could be on his way out of Anfield after the Switzerland international was left out of the squad. “It’s the time of the year where some things happen in the background and we have to react sometimes and that’s what we did,” added Klopp.