Mikel Arteta gives fitness update on three Arsenal stars for Liverpool clash

Mikel Arteta is facing a selection heafache for Arsenal’s Carabao Cup semi-final showdown with Liverpool with Granit Xhaka, Emile Smith Rowe and Takahiro Tomiyasu all doubts.

The Gunners were without that trio for Sunday’s FA Cup third round defeat to Nottingham Forest.

Xhaka was unavailable after testing positive for Covid while Smith Rowe and Tomiyasu missing out to groin and calf injuries respectively.

With Ainsley Maitland-Niles leaving on loan to join Roma this week and Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations, Arsenal suddenly find themselves desperately short of midifled options.

And with a visit to Anfield for the first leg of their semi-final looming on Thursday, Arteta is unsure whether the situation will improve in time.

‘I don’t know. It will depend on the next few games and how he’s feeling,’ Arteta said when asked if Xhaka will be out of isolation in time to feature on Thursday.

On Smith Rowe and Tomiyasu, the Arsenal boss added: ‘Again, it depends.

‘They were injured and they couldn’t play. Gabi [Magalhaes] was suspended. I’ll have to see in the next few days how they were.’

Lewis Grabban’s 83rd-minute winner sent Arsenal crashing out of the FA Cup with the Carabao Cup now their last chance for silverware this season.

‘It’s really hurting,” Arteta said.

‘It’s a competition that is very related to our history and to get out of it today is a big bump.

‘I’m really disappointed with the performance, first of all.

‘Not with the attitude, but how much purpose we had and what determination we showed to change the game when it’s difficult to play against [them] and the way they play.

‘We needed more drive, more hunger to win at any cost in every single action, much more. We were not there at our level today.’

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