Mikel Arteta dodges Granit Xhaka red card questions as Arsenal spare his blushes

Granit Xhaka was given his marching orders in the first-half


Takumi Minamino fluffed his lines late on when his volley blazed into the Kop despite having the goal at his mercy, but the visiting boss praised the spirit of his players.

Arteta told Sky Sports: "We revel against the situation. The players showed great fight, determination, brotherhood. You saw the emotion, we never gave up. Credit to the boys.

"I don't know if the red card inspired them but it took the fight. You need a certain attitude to play in these games and the boys did that. We played the game we had to play, which is not our game.

"To plan with the numbers we have, we don't have any midfielders, becomes really complicated, because whatever we do is not natural.

"The extra motivation to play a derby [at Tottenham on Sunday] brings the energy when you don't have it. No excuses, we have to play it."

It all means the north Londoners will host Jurgen Klopp's men next week at the Emirates in a winner takes all clash.

Liverpool are aiming for a record-setting ninth success in this competition.

Klopp is yet to make many in-roads in the cups since being appointed at Anfield more than six years ago, but is 90 minutes away from leading his side out at Wembley.

Liverpool had put four past Arsenal in November, but were uncharacteristically off colour in the final third.

They appeared to feel the absence of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, their two top scorers this term, with the pair away at AFCON.

The Gunners dug in and earned a goalless draw

The Reds managed just one shot on target despite having almost 80 per cent of the ball on Merseyside.

Arsenal centre-half Ben White conceded their defensive shift was anything but pleasant, but praised the efforts of his teammates.

He said: "It was not an ideal start but there is so much fight in this team. It's hard enough coming here with 11 men, absolutely superb from everyone.

"You have to concentrate the whole game and the result is well deserved. It's nice to defend like that as a defender. We were confident coming here and will give our all in the next game."