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Odegaard back, with Arsenal vs Liverpool semi-final set to go ahead, despite Kolasinac & Mari exits

6:08 PM WAT 18/01/2022
Martin Odegaard, Everton vs Arsenal 2021-22
Reports had suggested the second leg could be postponed but Thursday's tie at the Emirates Stadium is set to take place

Arsenal’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Liverpool on Thursday night looks set to go ahead as planned, with the issues that left Mikel Arteta with a threadbare squad at the weekend beginning to ease - even with Sead Kolasinac gone and Pablo Mari on the verge of an exit.

A combination of injuries, Covid and having players away on international duty saw Arsenal's north London derby meeting with Spurs postponed on Sunday by the Premier League.

There have since been some suggestions that Thursday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool could also be under threat, but Arsenal are working towards the tie going ahead as scheduled.

What’s the latest?

Despite speculation about Thursday night’s game, Arsenal are hopeful that the clash against Liverpool will go ahead, providing there is no fresh Covid-19 outbreak at London Colney in the next 48 hours.

Martin Odegaard, who would have missed Sunday’s game at Tottenham having tested positive for coronavirus, has now been able to return to the club’s London Colney training base.

And the Gunners are hopeful that some of the players who have been sidelined through injury, such as Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu, could be fit enough to return.

The likes of Bukayo Saka, Kieran Tierney and Calum Chambers, who picked up knocks in the first leg, are also hopeful of being passed fit.

Mikel Arteta’s squad numbers could also be boosted if needed by two youngsters who have been recalled from loan in recent days.

Midfielder Miguel Azeez has returned from Portsmouth, while forward Tyreece John-Jules returned from Blackpool on Monday.

One player who does look set to miss out on Thursday night, however, is Cedric Soares, who is still suffering from the hip problem that saw him substituted during the first half at Anfield last week.

What’s happening with Kolasinac and Mari?

Both defenders are set to leave by the end of the week, with Kolasinac officially joining Marseille after the French side's announcement on Tuesday.

Arsenal and Kolasinac agreed to terminate the Bosnia international's contract by mutual consent six months early, leaving him free to join the Ligue 1 side, where he will reunite with current Arsenal loanees Matteo Guendouzi and William Saliba.

Meanwhile, Mari is close to joining Serie A side Udinese on loan for the remainder of the season.

Both players found themselves on the fringes of things under Arteta this season, with Kolasinac making just five appearances in all competitions and Mari appearing just three times, with his last appearance coming on September 22 in a League Cup win against AFC Wimbledon.

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