LIVERPOOL VS ARSENAL: PREVIEW
Liverpool are back in action on Sunday when they host table topping Arsenal for a 15:30 GMT kickoff. The Reds, who are coming off the back of a goalless draw against Chelsea, will be hoping to put a dent in the Gunners’ title charge. Here’s the match preview.
The tables are turned between these two sides. Over the last five years or so, it’s been Liverpool who have been chasing the title whilst Arsenal stand back watching on enviously, and hanging their hat on ruining or delaying the inevitable.
There was the 2-1 victory for the Gunners in 2020 when Jürgen Klopp’s men had already secured the title. That victory was celebrated in North London like it meant more than just the three points. There were similar celebrations when Watford ended Liverpool’s unbeaten run that season.
The Gunners precious ‘invincibles’ record was preserved after all after fears Liverpool would go the entire season unbeaten. The shoe is on the other foot this time round. Arsenal are closing in on their first league title in almost two decades, and with games running out, this weekend’s encounter has taken on even more significance.
Liverpool is a proud city and by extension, a proud club. They won’t just roll out the red carpet and watch Arsenal’s title procession. The Reds will want to throw a spanner in the works if only to remind everyone (including themselves) of what they can do to the very best of sides.
It’s only a fortnight ago that another in-form side (Manchester United) were blown away by a raucous Anfield. If Liverpool get it right in terms of performance level, very few on the planet can live with them.
The problem this season has been one of consistency. After seven and half years of non-stop intensity, this Liverpool squad look devoid of the energy required to consistently harass teams for ninety minutes.
They look at the end of their cycle whilst Mikel Arteta’s charges resemble a throwback to the start of the Jürgen Klopp dominance. Arsenal are young, hungry and full of energy. Their pace out wide in Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli hearkens back to the Mane – Salah duo.
They are breathless and brilliant to watch. As a team, they’ve overcome every challenge thrown at them in the title race this campaign. They remain fearless in the face of adversity and haven’t been left exposed as a result of inexperience.
Anfield is perhaps one of the last true litmus tests for this side. The Gunners have lost each of their last six league games at the famous ground to an aggregate scoreline of 22-4. It’s a run of seven defeats and two draws since they last managed victory here.
Manager Mikel Arteta was in fact in the starting XI the last time the Gunners picked up a league victory on the red half of Merseyside. As was an 18 year old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. It’s been 11 long years and the plan for Jürgen Klopp and his men will be to extend that run.
The visitors come into this clash off the back of a seven match winning run in the league. That run was the perfect riposte to losing what many felt was a six pointer at home to Manchester City. Liverpool meanwhile are without a win in any of their last four in all competitions since they wiped the floor with Manchester United.
With ten games remaining, Liverpool sit 10 points off the Champions League places. Arsenal meanwhile sit pretty at the top, 8 clear of City having played a game more. A whopping 29 points separate these two sides. Hopefully it is a much closer contest on the pitch than the table suggests come Sunday.
For Liverpool, Thiago Alcantara is back in training and could be involved in some capacity. Luis Diaz remains unavailable however despite returning to training recently. Naby Keita (muscle), Calvin Ramsay (knee) and Stefan Bajcetic (groin) remain out.
Arsenal meanwhile will be assessing the fitness of William Saliba who has been struggling with a back injury. Takehiro Tomiyasu (knee), Eddie Nketiah (knock) and Mohamed Elneny (knee) have all been ruled out.
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