Arsenal's Granit Xhaka (right) argues with the referee who sent him off during the first leg of the English League Cup semifinals against Liverpool on Thursday, January 13, 2022 (AP Photo / Jon Super)

If the expulsion of Granit Xhaka was not a surprise, it was the fact that Arsenal survived with 10 men at Anfield.

Liverpool squandered their numerical superiority after giving Xhaka a red card in the 24th minute for a kick to the chest to Diogo Jota, and the Gunners rescued a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the English League Cup semi-finals on Thursday.

Without strikers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, who are in the African Cup of Nations, Liverpool lacked a punch against an already decimated Arsenal who lost two other players – Cedric Soares and Bukayo Saka – to injuries during the match.

Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager, was looking for his team to react after Sunday’s elimination against second-division Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round.

The Spanish strategist obtained what he wanted with an iron defensive work. In particular, the two center-backs Ben White and Brazilian Gabriel looked impressive.

Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka (right) argues with the referee who sent him off during the first leg of the English League Cup semifinals against Liverpool on Thursday, January 13, 2022 (AP Photo / Jon Super)

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