The heavyweight sporting contest of the weekend takes place at Anfield, far more entertaining than Conor McGregor’s fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Liverpool host Arsenal, in what should be an end-to-end match full of attacking football, with neither top-six rival wanting a defeat heading into the internationals.
Both teams are unpredictable and defensively shaky, and the victor is likely to be decided by which attack clicks most.
- Liverpool won both of their Premier League meetings with Arsenal last term. They haven’t won three top-flight matches in a row versus the Gunners since a four-match streak from 1996 to 1998.
- Games between these clubs have produced 17 Premier League goals in the 90th minute or later – more than any other fixture.
- Liverpool won 20 points from 10 Premier League matches (W7, D5) against the rest of the top six in 2016-17, more than any other side.
- The Reds could keep four successive Premier League clean sheets at Anfield for the first time since 2013.
- Sadio Mane has had a hand in five goals in his five previous Premier League starts against Arsenal (three goals and two assists).
- Mane could become the third player, after Robbie Fowler and Daniel Sturridge, to score in each of Liverpool’s first three matches in a Premier League season.
- Roberto Firmino has scored three goals in four Premier League games against Arsenal.
- The Gunners had the worst record in games involving the top six last season, claiming nine points and losing five of 10 matches.
- They are winless in their last 12 away league games against the sides which ended in last season’s top six (L7, D5).
- Arsenal have lost eight of their last 13 Premier League away matches (W4, D1) – as many defeats as they suffered in their previous 41 games on the road.
- Petr Cech has conceded 26 goals against Liverpool in the Premier League – against no side has he let in more.
- Alexis Sanchez scored only one goal in eight league appearances against the teams that finished above Arsenal last season.
(Stats Courtesy: BBC)
Arsenal‘s loss at Stoke has once again heaped pressure on Arsene Wenger, and this represents a wonderful chance for the Reds to inflict more damage on the north Londoners.
Liverpool comes into this game after successfully navigating a potential banana-skin of a Champions League playoff with Hoffenheim of Germany. Since the 3-3 opening day result at Watford, the Reds have won their last three games in a row, beating Hoffenheim twice, either side of the home win against Palace.
Liverpool, surprisingly, are aiming for a fourth home Premier League clean sheet in a row. Although, judging on recent games with the Londoners, I wouldn’t put my house on it.
Arsenal defeated Chelsea on penalties in the Community Shield, then beat Leicester 4-3 at the Emirates before suffering a 1-0 defeat away to Stoke last Saturday evening. With Alexis Sanchez returning, Arsenal will pose a new set of problems for Liverpool’s defence. He may not be 100% match fit but if Sanchez is in the right mind-frame, then he will need to be monitored closely.
Arsenal must consider themselves unlucky after the defeat at Stoke. Arsenal had 77% possession and 18 shots on goal but Jack Butland was in inspired form to deny them.
Arsenal owe Klopp’s men some payback after Liverpool denied them of Champions League qualification for the first time in 20 years by holding onto fourth place last season. Whether they have the wherewithal about them to actually inflict that revenge is another question.
This is normally the exact type of game that suits Liverpool. Arsenal will not come to Anfield to defend. They don’t know how to play like that. They will come go at Liverpool. Thereby leaving space behind. They may well score one or two (or more) but can they stop the Liverpool forward line from bagging them at the other end? Mané has been in sensational form so far this season. Firmino displayed his class on Wednesday night against Hoffenheim. Emre Can is making himself undroppable and Salah is enjoying his start in the Red jersey.
Liverpool will be without Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne, due to injury. Clyne should be available again after the International break and it will be very interesting to see how Klopp decides on the RB role after the recent emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The Coutinho saga isn’t likely to be over until after the window closes, don’t expect to see Phil line out for the Reds this Sunday.
The Gunners have an almost clean bill of health with Santi Cazorla their only player on the injury list. Koscielny is back from suspension, also.
Alexis Sanchez is said to be fit to make his first appearance of the season for Arsenal. Wenger and co will be hoping it’s not his last. If Arsenal can get through this next week or so while holding onto their Chilean attacker it will have a huge impact on their season. Sanchez has been one of the best performers in English football since his arrival from Barcelona in the summer of 2014.
There have been 20 goals in the last four games at Anfield in this fixture – expect more of the same this weekend.
PREDICTION: Liverpool 1 – 2 Arsenal
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