EFL Cup – Semi Leg 1 Thursday 13 Jan 2022 Anfield USA “TV”: ESPN+ 2:45pm ET Now that the Scousers seemed to pull a fast-one with their Covid testing to get the semifinal legs rearranged, giving them some badly needed rest & recuperation, and giving us time to join the illness & injury bandwagon... Will this trip back up north be more punishment or some sort of miracle? I’d say odds are on the former. For one thing, the last time I “took the reins” we went to the Merseyside and shockingly came back with nada. I guess you might say that their 2 AFCON absences at FW are perhaps a bigger miss than our 2 in MF. BUT Xhaka getting Covid has thrown a large spanner into our plan for January. How Arteta is able to staff MF is going to be a major factor in the outcome. I just listened to his presser (https://www.arsenal.com/liverpool-mikel-arteta-press-conference-transcript-carabao-cup). I took slight comfort in his calmness about our squad fiasco and with his answers in general... very open and no testiness. Here’s a few team news tidbits: * Our player availability is very “volatile and uncertain... from day to day” due to Covid, injury & absences. * Granit was a maybe (as of his presser), BUT sounds like he hasn’t been (cleared to do) training yet, so honestly how fit could he be?! * ESR also sounds iffy, as he’s been left out recently due to injury/fitness. * And if today’s training photos are anything to go by, Tommy may also be a question mark? Although I did see Gabriel training (and I presume he’s back eligible after suspension). So it could very well be a hodge podge, with someone like Chambers seeing his first PT for 2-3 months?? Ugh. Expectations suitably lowered... here we go!