Hot on the heels of their loss to a Jamie Vardy inspired Leicester City, Jurgen Klopp’s side host Arsenal and will be raring to achieve a league double over the North London side, something they haven’t done since the 1999-2000 season. Also, Arsenal haven’t won at Anfield since a 2-0 win back in September 2012, so a win here will be vital.
Ahead of the game, I’m not too confident as Arsenal unconvincingly beat Hull City 2-0 last time out, and I know that Liverpool will be rejuvenated in the quest for a top four spot. As well as this, Arsenal’s record against the top six is poor having only beaten Chelsea this season but with the battle for the top four intensifying, beating Liverpool is a must. The last time the sides mat was back in August and Liverpool went on to win 4-3. A win for Arsenal will dampen Liverpool’s hopes of a top four spot and will exact revenge for that opening day defeat. With Arsenals last game coming in the FA Cup against Sutton United and Liverpool coming on the back of a Monday game, no doubt will Arsenal have to switch on from the off.
However, all the focus in the build-up has not been on the game, Arsene Wenger has had to face yet more questions over his future, this time in response to the vacant Barcelona position after Luis Enrique announced he would leave Camp Nou at the end of the season. After being asked, Wenger dismissed the idea, instead stating that his preference has always been Arsenal.
When the sides met at Anfield last season, both sides played to a pulsating 3-3 draw.
What will we see this time?
Both Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny are back in full training following their respective injury lay-offs. Mohamed Elneny will play no part in this fixture following sustaining an ankle injury in the game against Sutton United. He will be out for three weeks (in Arsenal terms, that’s probably longer). Having not featured in the last game, Olivier Giroud is back in contention to start. Mesut Ozil was ill, thus missed out on training, but is expected to be fit for the encounter.
Jordan Henderson is ruled out having failed to recover from an injury before losing to Leicester City. Dejan Lovren has been out of action since the end of January but will be assessed before the game. If he is fit, then there’s no reason as to why he shouldn’t start.
Wenger expects Liverpool to play with a high intensity, as do I. I’m also expecting Klopp’s side to come out fighting. They will probably play like Bayern Munich, knowing them, they probably will. Their record against the top six is the opposite to Arsenal’s, having won four, and drawn four. But I won’t be reading too much into it. If you like to read into such statistics, you could use that to justify why Liverpool have an edge over Arsenal.
I hope Arsenal can get a result here as a win will tighten their grip on a top-four spot. I myself haven’t been too confident, to be honest, as I have already assumed that Liverpool will want to respond to their loss at Leicester City on Monday.
Here’s my starting eleven: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Gibbs, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain Walcott, Ozil, Welbeck, Alexis.
Who would you start? What are your score predictions? Let us know in the comments or @OfficalTFF
Feature image credit: Anfield Justice