Liverpool host Arsenal on Sunday afternoon in what promises to be a captivating encounter with both sides looking for nothing less than 3 points in order to head into the international break on a high. 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. 

Match Preview compiled by Nikhil Rao.

            Mane and Lacazette will look to fire their respective sides ahead on Sunday. Image via Skysports.

Liverpool have been playing scintillating, attacking football since Klopp took over and, with new recruit Mohamed Salah, who is off to a terrific start, look capable of giving any side a run for their money on their day. However, it’s their defence that’s holding them back from mounting a sustained challenge for the Premiership. Fans have been crying out for the club to sign a 6’4” Dutchman and sort out their defensive issues once and for all.

Arsenal, on the other hand, for over a year, haven’t displayed the beautiful football Wenger’s teams are usually associated with. The delightful ‘Wengerball’ has become as much a rarity these days as Barcelona winning a penalty without controversy. (no offence meant)

The Gunners have had a hit-and-miss start to the season and looked shaky at the back in their opening day comeback victory against Leicester. Against Stoke, the midfield got it all wrong in terms of distribution and positioning. With respect to the latter, Granit Xhaka had a shocker and Mesut Özil had to drop deep on many occasions to compensate for it. As a result, the attackers were left isolated for the best part of the game. Stoke pounced at the right moment, took advantage of Arsenal’s vulnerability in defence and punished them. Liverpool will be looking to do the same on Sunday, albeit with more elegance.

Laurent Koscielny and Alexis Sanchez couldn’t have returned at a better time.

HEAR FROM THE MANAGERS

Jurgen Klopp – “Arsenal are still an outstandingly strong side. we can all still remember the atmosphere of Wednesday night and that’s what we want to have again, even though it will be Sunday afternoon. It’s what we want to have again. It’s a very special game, like always against the top teams in the Premier League. “

“Arsene Wenger is a big, big, big manager in the history of the Premier League, of football, and he has the power still and that’s all you need actually. So, I’m happy he is still there and we meet again on Sunday.”

Arsene Wenger

“We’ve had good memories (at Anfield) and sometimes bad memories as well. It’s true that we’ve done well at Anfield in the past and we want to do well again.“

on how much harder it is to keep hold of Alexis Sanchez with inflated transfer fees-

“ I had to deal many times in my life with big departures, big players. I always focused more on the team and to deal with all the rest. No matter what, Arsenal and the team is important. Of course you want to keep your best players but you always think if it happens you have to find a way to survive at the top level and to find a way to make the team efficient. You don’t focus too much on individual players, you focus more on how the team can be strong enough to deal with what can happen.

TEAM NEWS

LIVERPOOL- Coutinho looks set to miss out with a “back complaint”. Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Ings and Adam Lallana remain absent.

ARSENAL-

The returning Alexis Sanchez and Laurent Koscielny would provide some much needed impetus to Arsenal who were shambolic against Stoke in all parts of the pitch.

LAST 6 MEETINGS

  • Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal

Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino rubbed salt to the Arsenal wounds at a time when Arsene Wenger’s position at the club was in more peril than ever before.

  • Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool

Liverpool took advantage of an inexperienced Arsenal centre-back pairing and pummelled them on the opening day of the 2016-17 season.

  • Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal

Olivier Giroud and Roberto Firmino stole the show in what was, in Arsene Wenger’s words, “a great football night”.

  • Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool

In a game littered with chances, brilliant goalkeeping (by Petr Cech in particular) and defensive mistakes, it was almost beyond belief that neither side could carve out a victory.

  • Arsenal 4-1 Liverpool

Four tremendous strikes, from Héctor Bellerín, Mesut Özil, Alexis Sánchez and Olivier Giroud shredded Liverpool, whose hopes of securing a champions league spot were dealt a mighty blow.

  • Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal

Martin Skrtel’s 97th minute equalising header gave Liverpool a fully deserved point against Arsenal at Anfield.

This fixture has produced 17 goals from the 90thminute onwards; more than any other fixture in the Premier League.

  • The Gunners have lost 8 of their last 13 Premier League away matches (W4 D1 L8) – their previous eight away defeats in the competition came over a period of 41 games (W22 D11 L8).
  • Arsenal have won only 1 of their last 7 games against Liverpool in the Premier League.
  • Roberto Firmino has scored three goals in four Premier League games against Arsenal.
  • Sadio Mané has contributed to 5 goals in his last 5 Premier League starts against Arsenal (three goals, two assists).
  • Liverpool went unbeaten against the rest of the Top 6 in 2016-17.

KEY BATTLE

MOHAMED SALAH VS SEAD KOLASINAC

MOHAMED SALAH BATTLE AND SEAD KOLASINAC BATTLE FOR POSSESSION via Getty.

Both players are off to a flyer for their respective new clubs. It will be quite interesting to see which of the two will come out triumphant when they go up against the other –it will be a contest of pace and trickery vs strength and power.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3) –

Mignolet ; Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Robertson ; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum ; Salah, Firmino, Mane

ARSENAL (3-4-2-1) – 

Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal ; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac ; Özil, Sanchez ; Lacazette

referee– Martin Atkinson

Prediction

Arsenal’s slight superiority in defence might just be enough to nullify Liverpool’s Anfield advantage and with both teams having equally deadly attacks, we are in for a treat. I expect it to be an entertaining scoring draw.

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal