Liverpool will be wary of an in-form Arsenal attack, but surely have the firepower to pick the Gunners apart, writes Sam Patterson – @sam0007ster.
This is in no way as easy a fixture as Paul Merson seems to think. The Sky pundit predicts Liverpool will essentially brush the Londoners aside.
Liverpool’s record at the Emirates does not lend to easy reading. The Reds have mustered just two wins since Arsenal made the move from Highbury in 2006 – two wins, seven draws and six defeats.
Arsenal are still a force to behold. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette represent one of the most feared strike partnerships in England and Mesut Özil is also on song right now, which spells danger.
Their first eleven is littered with plenty of attacking flair and the Gunners can turn the screw when need be, giving plenty of teams the run around in doing so. Second half displays against Fulham and Leicester City are of particular note.
Unai Emery’s men are 13 games unbeaten in all competitions and showing clear signs of progress.
However, this game is certainly Arsenal’s sternest test since Manchester City and Chelsea in the opening two fixtures.
Jürgen Klopp’s high-flying Reds remain unbeaten in the league and are joint top with champions Manchester City – albeit with an inferior goal difference – having already played Spurs, Chelsea and the Citizens.
The Reds will fancy their chances as they boast a settled centre-half partnership of Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk. Dejan Lovren has also made a good start to the campaign. The Croatian has filled in at centre-half when Klopp has deemed it necessary and is yet to put a foot wrong.
Liverpool have only conceded four goals in 10 league games – a record only bettered by Manchester City. That is three conceded away from home as well as Huddersfield’s solitary goal in last week’s comprehensive 4-1 win at Anfield.
By comparison, Arsenal have conceded thirteen and seem to continually leak goals. They look soft at the back when put under persistent pressure. The 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park last Sunday is a perfect case in point.
All league fixtures are a one-off and anything can happen. The Gunner’s style of taking the game to the opposition will surely play into Liverpool’s own hands. Salah, Firmino and Mané will be chasing loose balls, running in behind and causing havoc all evening.
How Arsenal’s veteran defender Stephan Lichsteiner – who will presumably start given Arsenal’s long injury list – and young centre-half Rob Holding fare against Liverpool’s lethal attacking trio must be a major concern for Arsenal fans.
This is where Arsenal are vulnerable and perhaps where the game will be won or lost.
Team news and predictions
Arsenal: Hector Bellerin is a doubt for the Gunners while Sead Kolasinac, Nacho Monreal and new boy Sokratis face late fitness tests. Captain Laurent Koscielny is still out.
Liverpool: Klopp has confirmed Jordan Henderson and Naby Keïta are expected to be absent. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster remain on the sidelines.
Predicted line-up: (4-3-3) Alisson, Trent A-A, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Milner, Salah, Firmino, Mané
Prediction: A 1-2 win for the Redmen.
KO: Saturday, 5:30pm UK time.