Arsenal vs Liverpool: preview, team news, injuries, predicted XIs
All the latest news and information as Arsenal host Liverpool in the Premier League, with both sides looking to bounce back after disappointing results on the weekend.
Arsenal’s form under Mikel Arteta this season has been patchy, particularly since the restart. The Gunners season resumed with defeats to Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion before going on a four-match winning streak to put them back into European contention. They looked like making it five in a row until an unfortunate red card let Leicester back in the game at the Emirates Stadium last week and they suffered a frustrating defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
In the Spurs game Arsenal showed some of their worst characteristics; conceding after a lapse of concentration at the back, beaten by a set piece for the second and failing to make their dominance in possession count. Arsenal had 67% of the ball but only managed four shots on target to Spurs’ eight. They struggled to break down a deep defence but that should not be a concern on Wednesday with Liverpool certain to be more proactive than Jose Mourinho’s side were. Arsenal are currently four points adrift of Sheffield United in the final Europa League place and need to avoid defeat against Liverpool to maintain any hope of qualifying. If they can then their final two games are definitely winnable, facing relegation-threatened Aston Villa and Watford.
Liverpool will also have been disappointed after their last game having dropped points at home in the league for the first time in 18 months. After the draw against Burnley, Liverpool need to win all three of their remaining games to break the Premier League points record of 100. Currently on 93 points, three more wins would also bring them level with Juventus’ total of 102 from 2014, a record across Europe’s top ten leagues.
Jürgen Klopp’s side will play Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle in the next 12 days so there could well be rotation among his players. For the game against Burnley Klopp started youngsters Neco Williams and Curtis Jones, both of whom did well before being taken off. One man who will be desperate to start is Mohamed Salah who is just about within reach of the Golden Boot. The Egyptian is four goals away from Jamie Vardy’s total of 23 strikes and would love to claim a third Golden Boot in four seasons on Merseyside.
Games between Arsenal and Liverpool in recent seasons have seen plenty of goals and the last fixture between the two, a League Cup game last October, ended 5-5. Of the last ten games between the two, five have seen at least six goals. But while there’s plenty of action Liverpool have had by far the better of those encounters, winning six and drawing four.
Arsenal Predicted XI vs Liverpool
Martinez; Holding, Luiz, Kolasinac; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Tierney; Saka, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Liverpool Predicted XI vs Arsenal
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Arsenal vs Liverpool: Injuries and Suspensions
Mikel Arteta does not have a full squad at his disposal for the visit of the champions, with Gabriel Martinelli, Bernd Leno, Pablo Mari, and Calum Chambers all suffering long-term injuries. Young striker Eddie Nketiah is still suspended after his dismissal against Leicester.
Also likely to be absent for the Gunners are Mesut Özil and Matteo Guendouzi, who have been out of favour with Arteta for some time.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will not play again this season after suffering a knee injury in the win over Brighton. James Milner and Joel Matip are both still recovering from injuries sustained against Everton in the first game after the restart.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was rested against Burnley but should return at the Emirates. Naby Keita or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will likely come into the starting XI in place of Curtis Jones in midfield.
Arsenal vs Liverpool: What the managers said
Mikel Arteta (Arsenal): “Obviously the first two years it took them [Liverpool] some time to rebuild the squad and to create a new culture, a new philosophy and a game model that suited the coach.
“Financially they had a big backing and made some big signings which completely changed the club in my opinion.”
Jürgen Klopp (Liverpool): “Mikel [Arteta] is part of this very exciting new coaching generation, or manager generation. Really exciting to watch; you can see the ideas behind obviously, influenced by Pep [Guardiola].
“Probably they had the same idea already before, when Mikel was still a player. Yes, you can see a massive influence of him.”
Prediction: Arsenal have already shown progress at times under Arteta but, despite switching to a back three, they remain fragile in defence. In Lacazette, Aubameyang and Saka they have a fluid forward line that can cause problems on the break but none of their defensive options are blessed with pace. Both sides will have chances but Liverpool should have enough to come out on top. 1-3