So far to go: Arsenal’s need for transfers laid bare by Liverpool defeat

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If ever there was an example that Arsenal needed to get some new additions in, this was it.

The Gunners started the day with hopes of Wembley, but ended it by seeing their Carabao Cup dreams dashed following a 2-0 defeat by Liverpool in their semi-final second leg.

Mikel Arteta’s side have now crashed out of both domestic cup competitions in the space of two weeks - with a decimated squad unable to cope with a number of injuries, Covid cases and international absences

The likes of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard all started against Liverpool on Thursday night, but they looked like a group of players who had barely been able to train for the past week.

From the moment Diego Jota gave Liverpool the lead on 19 minutes, they never really looked like surrendering their advantage.

Jurgen Klopp’s side just had too much experience and know-how, with Arsenal struggling to build any sort of momentum on a frustrating night at Emirates Stadium.

It was another disappointing defeat for Arteta’s side on the back of the horrible FA Cup exit at Nottingham Forest and the Arsenal boss must now ensure a season that has promised so much, doesn’t start to slip away.

There are now 11 days left of the transfer window and it feels imperative that the Gunners bolster their squad before January 31.

They have spent the past three weeks getting players out, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Folarin Balogun, Pablo Mari and Sead Kolasinac all leaving the club, but now the focus must be on bringing people in.

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Arsenal started last summer with a bloated squad, now it looks the exact opposite and the past couple of weeks have shown exactly that.

The Gunners just haven’t been able to cope with the injuries that have come their way and have understandably started to look a bit flat.

Things will improve in the coming weeks, with Thomas Partey having already arrived back from Afcon and Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe following soon.

Granit Xhaka will also soon return from suspension, but they still need more, especially with serious doubts hanging over the future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The fact that they had to include Partey on the bench against Liverpool, just 48 hours after Ghana had been knocked out of Afcon, highlighted just how stretched things are.

With Arsenal 1-0 down, Arteta threw the midfielder on for the closing 20 minutes even though he’d only arrived back in England earlier in the day.

It was a risk and one that didn’t pay off, with Partey picking up two bookings and getting himself sent off.

He will now join Xhaka in missing the Burnley game on Sunday through suspension, further adding to Arteta’s woes.

The red card completed a miserable night for the hosts, with Liverpool just too well drilled.

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Arsenal started well and hit the bar through an Alexandre Lacazette’s free-kick, but once Jota’s miscued shot decided Ramsdale on 19 minutes, the home side had little answer.

Gabriel Martinelli was the one player who caused Liverpool problems and Odegaard looked bright, but both he and Smith Rowe often found themselves far too deep because of the 4-3-3 formation Arteta was forced to use because of a lack of midfielders.

Lacazette did have one good chance after the interval after being picked out by Albert Lokonga, but he couldn’t keep his effort down.

Jota eventually killed the tie off with his and Liverpool’s second, lifting an excellent finish over Ramsdale after being picked out by a fabulous Trent Alexander-Arnold pass.

Arsenal went into the tie with expectations high after their battling 0-0 draw at Anfield in the first leg last week, but in the end they were given another example of the gap that still exists between them and the Premier league’s top sides.

The key thing now is to brush off the disappointment and focus back on the Premier League.

They have put themselves in an excellent position when it comes to securing a top-four finish, but they now need to try and get the job done.

To do that, you feel that new additions are vital before the end of the month.

Talks with Juventus over a deal for Arthur are continuing and Arsenal are hopeful of completing a loan deal for the midfielder before the window closes.

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His arrival would be a welcome boost, but a striker feels essential as well - especially if Aubameyang does end up leaving amid mounting interest in the former captain.

The fact Arsenal had Eddie Nketiah leading the line for the final 20 minutes against Liverpool as they searched for a way back into the tie summed things up.

This was a day that started full of promise for the Gunners but they came up short. They need to get some good business done in the next 11 days to ensure the rest of the season doesn’t follow suit.