Arsenal vs Liverpool – Premier League Preview

Big Test for Both Sides

Two of the Premier League’s most inform teams will do battle at the Emirates, and the stakes are exceptionally high for such an early point in the season.

For Arsenal, the hosts, this is their greatest test since Unai Emery’s philosophy has started to bear fruit. Much has been made of their long unbeaten run, but it’s been quite some time since they’ve faced a team of Liverpool’s quality.

For Liverpool, this is a must win game. Not only because it is against a top-four rival, but because both Chelsea and Manchester City picked up all three points at the Emirates. If Liverpool want to stake their claim as genuine title contenders, then anything other than a win must be seen as a failure.

Arsenal Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Arsenal limp into this fixture with some key absences. Their defence are on their last legs, although their formidable attack is as potent as ever.

Mohamed Elneny, Laurent Koscielny, Kostantinos Mavropanos, and Matteo Guendouzi will all miss this weekend’s fixture. While the likes of Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, Nacho Monreal, and Sokratis will be assessed as close to kick-off as possible.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles could come in to replace Bellerin if he’s not fit to start, while supposed Liverpool transfer target Aaron Ramsey could be brought into the midfield in Emery elects to add more numbers in the centre of the park.

Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup

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It will likely be too soon for either of Jordan Henderson or Naby Keita to be in contention against Arsenal, but other than that, Liverpool’s lineup will be strong.

The rest of the team more or less picks itself, especially the defence, and to a lesser extent, the midfield, given the poor recent showings by Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana.

The only doubt is whether Klopp will elect to retain Xherdan Shaqiri meaning that Liverpool will lineup closer to a 4-2-3-1. This would be a bold move by Klopp, but one that could play dividends.

Pre-Game Analysis

If Shaqiri plays, and Klopps trust Gini Wijnaldum and Fabinho to control the midfield as they’ve done in the last two games, then Arsenal’s makeshift defence will be put under even more pressure. If Milner plays though, it will mean Liverpool have a better chance of nullifying the impact of players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal have a record of starting slow this season, which may sway Klopp’s decision to try and kill the game early with a Shaqiri-spearheaded blitz. However, Emery is a shrewd manager and will have planned for Klopp’s attack well.

Liverpool will need to punish Arsenal if they linger on the ball too long, as they are a side who prefer to play out from the back. However, if they get the ball further afield, then they have every chance of scoring goals.

Prediction

Both managers will have had their eyes on this fixture for many weeks now, and as such, both will have prepared game plans that they believe will secure the win.

Liverpool will be the more desperate of the two for a victory, but that’s not to say Arsenal won’t be giving it a real crack at home.

Ultimately, Liverpool’s defence should be able to repel Arsenal’s formidable attack more often than not, but the same won’t be said of the Gunner’s defence against whichever attacking combination Klopp prefers. A well earned 3-1 victory for the Reds will make a  real statement going forward.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

 

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 27/10/2018

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