Arsenal travel to Merseyside hoping to improve upon their wretched record at Anfield


Liverpool host Arsenal on Saturday with ambitions of another victory to add to their recent dominance over the Gunners.

With the weekend’s meeting bringing together the only two teams in the Premier League to have won their first pair of fixtures, there is a certain case of optimism in either camp.

For Unai Emery and his men, they travel to the red half of Merseyside with an unexpected and unfamiliar bounce in their step. With a burgeoning attack starting to form as well as the tightening of a somewhat leaky defence in recent times, Arsenal supporters have good reason to be in buoyant mood.

The arrivals of Nicolas Pepe and Dani Ceballos in the summer have added a couple of strings to the Gunners’ bow. The essential target of defensive re-reinforcements have been met with the signings of experienced campaigner David Luiz and Scottish full-back Kieran Tierney.

Despite recent rumblings over form and criticism from the outside, Liverpool seem set to challenge on all fronts once again this year. Winning both of their opening two fixtures, including adding the Super Cup to their trophy collection wedged in between those matches, Jurgen Klopp’s side have made a fast start to their season.

Roberto Firmino is one strike away from becoming the first Brazilian to score 50 goals in the Premier League. Having scored eight goals in as many matches against Arsenal, Firmino is set to be a threat for the hosts.

However, questions regarding the back-four and goalkeeper have started to emerge in recent weeks. Fortunate to win away at Southampton last weekend and the injury to Brazilian shot-stopper Alison has in some ways dented the confidence in Liverpool.

Team news

Adrian will continue in goal for the home side after replacing Alisson between the sticks midway through their curtain raiser against Norwich a fortnight ago. The latter suffered a calf injury and no return date has been scheduled. The Reds are also without Naby Keita (groin) and Nathaniel Clyne (knee).

Arsenal have a whole host of absentees unavailable for the clash at Anfield. Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding are continuing to step up their recoveries after suffering respective knee and cruciate ligament damage injuries last year. New signing Kieran Tierney is also ruled out with a hip issue.

Konstantinos Mavropanos joins the list for an expected six weeks after picking up a pelvis injury. Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka will have late decisions made on whether they will be available, with both lacking match fitness in recent weeks.

From the dug-outs

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said:

“First we have to reach the level of last year. It doesn’t mean after the summer break we’re there. It’s not about being perfect, it’s being ready.

We said at the start of the week it was an important week and we had to be 100% concentrated and the boys did that. Arsenal are a very very strong opponent. It’s Anfield, it’s us. I’m looking forward to it. “

Meanwhile, Unai Emery joked that his side never want to face Liverpool, despite being in confident mood:

“For us we don’t want to play against Liverpool ever. We’d prefer not to play against them. That is really our challenge, a really good test. For the supporters, for all of us, going there with six points is good.

Really our target is to reduce the distance to Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea.

When we play against them it is a big challenge to show how we can be. Next week is going to be a very good match.”

In recent history, Arsenal have a dismal record on Kop territory, having conceded 12 goals in their last three outings. Losing 5-1 in last December and hammered 4-0 the time before, most of the Gunners players have bad recollections of their travels to Merseyside.

However, in their overall head-to-head record, the record in yesteryear between the pair is much closer. In their 226 meetings, Liverpool have edged 87 of them whilst Arsenal have triumphed 78 times, the other 61 being a draw.

Expected line-ups

Liverpool (4-3-3) – Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1) – Leno; Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Monreal; Torriera, Guendouzi; Pepe, Ceballos, Aubameyang; Lacazette.


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

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