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    Thursday, 20 January 2022

    'We're going to pick the strongest team' - Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta responds to Pep Lijnders Liverpool claim

    Liverpool face Arsenal in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi final on Thursday evening as Jurgen Klopp's side look to reach Wembley

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has dismissed Pep Lijnders' claim that Liverpool's chances of reaching Wembley were 'written off' following Thursday's Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield.

    The two teams played out a goalless draw on Merseyside, in a match that saw Liverpool struggle in front of goal without prolific forwards Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

    Arteta's side faced issues of their own heading into the game, however, and were also forced to adjust their starting XI accordingly.

    Looking ahead to the return leg in Wednesday's press conference, Lijnders has admitted he is relishing the prospect of proving a point to those who played down the Reds' chance of progression after their Anfield display.

    "I really looked forward to this game [second leg] from the final whistle at Anfield because everyone was writing us off and speaking about us," he said.

    Challenged on his view to this quote, Arteta responded: "I would love to feel that way.

    "It’s a game to play, it’s just half-time. There is another very competitive match to be played and as I said before we will play to be in that final.

    "We’re going to pick the strongest team we have for tomorrow night with one intention – to turn up there and after the final whistle be at Wembley and in the final.

    "We will have the players that we have. Whether we play 90, 120 minutes or penalties we’ll do so only with players that have the belief that we can win that game and play the importance of that game. That’s it."

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