Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta insists Bernd Leno’s impressive performance in the Carabao Cup win over Liverpool did not give him any extra satisfaction having chosen to make the German goalkeeper his number one.
The Gunners sold Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa last month, replacing him with Runar Runarsson, and that decision put the spotlight on first-choice Leno but he delivered at Anfield with a string of second-half saves to keep the game goalless.
That allowed Arsenal to win their second penalty shoot-out against Liverpool in just over a month, having done so in the Community Shield in late August, with midfielder Joe Willock scoring the decisive kick to make it 5-4 in sudden death.
Nice one, @Bernd_Leno 😊
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 1, 2020
“We had two fantastic goalkeepers and they were both performing really well but we had to make decisions,” said Arteta, who is now unbeaten in eight domestic cup matches since taking charge, having led them to last season’s FA Cup.
“I think it was a moment when Emi needed the next step and financially it was an interesting proposal for us.
“We have to use the resources we have to strengthen the team. He (Leno) was really helpful to get us through to the next round.”
Arsenal, who are in their fourth League Cup quarter-final in five seasons, have drawn holders Manchester City in the last eight, which means a meeting with his mentor Pep Guardiola for Arteta.
“I was enjoying the victory when I got he news,” he added.
“A massive challenge for us, we are not getting very lucky with the draws at the moment.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp felt his side more than deserved to win the game but accepted their fate in the shoot-out.
He even told Leno after the match he was not happy with his compatriot’s match-winning performance.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 1, 2020
“I told him after the game, I was not too happy about that,” the former Borussia Dortmund boss said.
“We had some really good moments – as a manager I wish that we scored but I want to see us create.
“We showed the quality, it just didn’t work out tonight and that is completely OK. We will try again, I will promise.
“Yes, we could have been a bit more clinical in finishing but Leno made a really good game.
“In the end the penalty shoot-out, it is luck and a lot of things, but Arsenal shot really well and us not exactly the same and that is why we lost.”
Klopp left Xherdan Shaqiri out of his side after receiving interest from two clubs but the Reds boss refused to be drawn on whether the Switzerland international would be leaving before the end of the transfer window.
“I can’t and I don’t want to say anything about that. What I can say is he is not injured and it is not for disciplinary reasons,” he added.
“It is a time of the year when a manager get some informations then I have to react on that.”