Premier League preview: Liverpool vs Arsenal
All the latest news as Liverpool host Arsenal in the Premier League on Monday with both sides looking to maintain their perfect starts to the season.
It has been a very encouraging week for Liverpool after a narrow win over newly-promoted Leeds United on the Premier League’s opening day. There were some uncharacteristic defensive errors against Marcelo Bielsa’s side and Leeds dominated possession against the champions. But that was swiftly followed by the acquisitions of Thiago Alcântara and Diogo Jota and a comfortable win over much-fancied Chelsea.
Thiago was a halftime substitution at Stamford Bridge and immediately showed what he can bring to this Liverpool side, completing more passes (75) than any Chelsea player managed in the whole game. He seems certain to start against Arsenal and Jurgen Klopp will hope he can add the incisive passing that his side have lacked in their recent meetings. Liverpool dominated the ball with 69% of possession when these teams last met in the league but struggled to break down Arteta’s well-drilled Arsenal. The 29-year-old could be the man to make the difference this time around.
However Arsenal will take confidence from their solid recent record against Klopp’s side, ending as the victors in both of Arteta’s games in charge against them. After a 2-1 victory in the league in July they lifted the Community Shield against Liverpool with yet another Wembley goal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Arteta’s switch to wing-backs appears to have helped to negate Liverpool’s creativity from wide areas in those two games, allowing them to press Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold more effectively. In the past they have struggled to get to grips with Roberto Firmino who seems to relish playing the Gunners. The Brazilian has scored eight goals and provided three assists in his ten games against Arsenal and will hope to open his account for the season on Monday.
The visitors will be looking to continue their 100% start to the season after victories over Fulham and West Ham United left them joint-top of the table. A win at Anfield would make it three from three at the start of a Premier League campaign for the first time since the 2004/05 season when the Gunners finished second. However doing so would make them the first visiting side to leave Anfield with three points since Crystal Palace in 2017, a run stretching back 60 games.
Intriguingly, the two sides meet again at Anfield on Thursday in the EFL Cup fourth round after comfortable victories last week. Liverpool cruised past Lincoln City with braces for the impressive Curtis Jones and Takumi Minamino while Arsenal knocked out Leicester City thanks to a goal from Eddie Nketiah.
Liverpool predicted XI vs Arsenal
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Fabinho, Robertson; Thiago, Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Arsenal predicted XI vs Liverpool
Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Gabriel, Maitland-Niles; Ceballos, Xhaka; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Liverpool vs Arsenal: injuries and suspensions
The big injury news for the home side is that they will be without captain Jordan Henderson who was substituted due to a thigh injury last weekend. His replacement then, Thiago, will likely take his place again against Arsenal. Klopp has also confirmed that Joel Matip will be out with an ongoing hamstring complaint.
Liverpool had to field Fabinho in defence against Chelsea due to a lack of fit centre-backs, but Joe Gomez and 17-year-old Billy Koumetio have now returned to training. Jota will hope to make his league debut for the club having featured off the bench against Lincoln.
Arsenal have some defensive concerns of their own and will likely be without Kieran Tierney after he was withdrawn from the side shortly before their game against West Ham. The muscular injury is not thought to be serious but Arteta will be reluctant to field a half-fit Tierney against Mohamed Salah.
Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari are all definitely out due to injury so Gabriel Magalhaes and Rob Holding are most likely to partner David Luiz in the heart of the Gunners’ defence. Despite Nketiah’s mid-week goal, Alexandre Lacazette will probably be favoured to start up front.
Liverpool vs Arsenal: what the managers said
Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool): "Mikel Arteta has shown in a short period of time he seems an exceptional football manager. The structure of his team is exceptional, the balance of the team is really good.
"I can say a lot of positive things about Arsenal because they are true, but I still think we have a chance on Monday night."
Mikel Arteta (Arsenal): “[Liverpool are] really consistent in its performance, able to constrain the opponent to do very little against them and can dominate long periods of games.
“You have to be able, when you have the right opportunities, to be ruthless. You have to do that and as well you have to be able to suffer for periods. You know and you have to expect that they’re going to have those periods.”
Prediction: Games between these two sides have produced more goals than any other Premier League fixture so we should be in for an entertaining affair on Monday night. However Arsenal have looked much more solid under Arteta, conceding just once in three games so far this season, so Liverpool will have to work for the victory. It should be a close game, but the introduction of Thiago and the form of Liverpool’s wide men should be enough to clinch the three points. 2-0
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