Liverpool had the last laugh over Arsenal on Thursday night to book themselves a place in the Carabao Cup final.
The Reds quietly went about their preparations for the second leg at Emirates Stadium amid a swelling feeling of optimism amongst Gooners on the back of securing a 0-0 draw at Anfield.
However, it turns out that keeping a clean sheet on Merseyside, as hard as it might be, is no guarantee against the might of Jurgen Klopp’s side as they ultimately swept to a 3-0 victory.
Diogo Jota opened the scoring in north London with a fine individual effort before the break and doubled Liverpool’s money in the second-half with a deft one-on-one finish past Aaron Ramsdale.
Marry that to Arsenal going down to 10 men in both legs with Thomas Partey being sent for an early bath and there was no doubt in the end that it would be Liverpool playing under the Wembley arch.
That being, despite not actually scoring and picking up two red cards home and away against Klopp’s men, it’s not to say that there weren’t positives for Arsenal to take from their performances.
The simple fact of the matter is that Mikel Arteta’s team has got a long way to go to reach Liverpool’s level, but there are promising signs with many of Arsenal’s young players putting in a serious shift.
And one Arsenal man who performed so brilliantly over the two legs that even Klopp couldn’t resist praising him was none other than Gabriel Martinelli.
The Brazilian sensation was one of Arsenal’s best players during the draw at Anfield and Klopp was similarly impressed in the second leg that he wanted to dish out a special mention after the game.
In fact, not only did the Liverpool manager make sure to openly praise one of Arsenal’s finest young talents, but he did so without even being prompted to do so in his post-match press conference.
Having actually been asked a question about his desire to win the final, Klopp unexpectedly came out with: “Martinelli by the way, everybody should remember that name because he’s an outstanding player.”
It’s not often that you hear managers waxing lyrical about opposition players after a game, but it couldn’t have been clearly that the Reds boss wanted to make his love for Martinelli known.
In fact, it’s not even the first time that Martinelli has been publicly praised by Klopp with the latest compliments prompting us to look back on some glowing comments from his early Arsenal days.
Speaking about Sepp van den Berg after Liverpool defeated Arsenal on penalties on the back of a crazy 5-5 draw in 2019, Klopp made a massive claim about Martinelli to celebrate his brace.
According to talkSPORT, the Liverpool coach openly said: “Martinelli’s pretty much the same age but he’s a talent of the century, he’s an incredible striker.”
Marry that to further praise of Martinelli after a Champions League tie – which you can check out below – and you could forgive Arsenal fans for worrying about Liverpool putting in a bid.
However, if the 20-year-old keeps improving and stays fit then you can bet that any club wanting to prize him away from Emirates Stadium in the future will have to pay an arm and a leg to do so.
Besides, Arsenal might not have been able to climb the Carabao Cup ladder any further, but you can rest assured that Martinelli’s stock will only keep rising.