Pre-Match build-up: Arsenal v Liverpool

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After the convincing 3-0 win against Manchester City on Monday night, Liverpool will aim to make it two wins in a week against top-four sides as they travel to the Emirates Stadium this Sunday. The two sides met on the opening day of this year’s Premier League season at Anfield in Roy Hodgson’s first league match in charge of Liverpool, where the scoreline ended 1-1.

Arsenal dominated the previous match’s possession statistics with 64% possession over the course of the 90 mins and with an 82% pass completion rate, their footballing ability shone through statistically during this match. But it is also worth remembering that Liverpool lost Javier Mascherano to injury during the match and also had Joe Cole sent off. Laurent Koscielny was also sent off on his competitive debut for Arsenal in this match.

John Flanagan is expected to retain his position at right-back as Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly are still out injured. For Arsenal, Almunia and Szczesny are doubtful and Fabianski has already been ruled out due to injury, meaning Jens Lehman could also play in-goal.

Liverpool haven’t managed a win against Arsenal in the league in their last 6 meetings, home or away (4 draws, 2 losses) but on the back of such fine form under Kenny Dalglish, the Reds will be keen to set the record straight with victory over a shaky Arsenal side who weren’t too convincing in their last outing against Blackpool last Sunday.

Liverpool’s record against top four teams this season has been one of the more positive aspects of the 2010/11 campaign (P7 W4 D1 L2) with the two losses being the 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford and the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in late August. The only draw we’ve encountered this season against teams in the top-four was the 1-1 with Arsenal as previously mentioned. We are unbeaten at home against top-four clubs (P4 W3 D1 L0) but have only won 1 game out of three away from home against a top-four club.

This weekends trip will arguably be the most difficult we are likely to face all season and with Arsenal still hoping to revive a push for the title, it’s set-up to be a thriller. I will be at the Emirates at 16.00pm, watching the game with the travelling Kop who will undoubtedly be in fine voice. Another thing that shouldn’t go un-noticed is Cesc Fabregas’ twitter tribute to the 96 lives lost at Hillsborough 22-years-ago.

“My thoughts with the families and the victims of Hillsbrough.#JFT96.” He posted. A very small amount of effort went into posting those characters, but the impact it should have is huge. It was his only tweet of the day and not much notice would have been taken had he not posted anything, but I applaud Cesc’s input and it shows that despite rivalries being as fierce as ever in the modern game, that players can relate to fans of another club. Being in the travelling Kop, I will show Cesc our appreciation of such gesture, in a game of frauds his words were genuine.

This is my first ever post, so please be kind, but be honest. I am on Twitter @jackwidnell – follow me and let me know. YNWA. JFT96.

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