Liverpool v Arsenal – The Premier League Preview

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Arsenal Test for the Reds

This is perhaps the most intriguing contest of the Premier League season so far, with two teams desperate to stop the Manchester City dominance of the English top tier. Last weekend saw The Gunners leapfrog The Reds, as they achieved a one-point lead at the top of the table. Premier League form is most certainly with the north London outfit, who are playing with both confidence and style. That was until The Reds’ remarkable and destructive 5-1 win against West Ham on Wednesday evening, which allowed them to progress into the semi-final of the EFL Cup. Aston Villa also has a chance of securing first place over Christmas, if they were to win their game at home to Sheffield United, though only with the Anfield encounter ending in a draw.

The Arsenal Availability

In terms of availability, Fabio Ferreira Vieira, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Thomas Partey, Jorge Luiz Frello Filho, and Jurrien Timber, are all out, whereas Mohamed Elneny is a doubt due to a hamstring strain. The 2022/23 runners up currently sit top of the Premier League, having attained 39 points from 17 games played. Concerning form, Arsenal will head to Anfield having beaten Brighton 2-0 at the Emirates last weekend, after losing 1-0 away to Aston Villa the previous week. The game prior to that loss ended in a 3-4 win, as Arsenal secured a late winner away to Luton.

A predicted line up for the away team is listed below.

  • GK – David Raya
  • RB – Ben White
  • RCB – William Saliba
  • LCB – Gabriel Magalhães
  • LB – Oleksandr Zinchenko
  • RCM – Martin Ødegaard (c)
  • CDM – Declan Rice
  • LCM – Kai Havertz
  • RW – Bukayo Saka
  • CF – Gabriel Jesus
  • LW – Gabriel Martinelli

In a 4-3-3 system of play, the away side will surely look to do the opposite of Manchester United, thereby attacking the game from the off. The confidence of this team and their manager, Mikel Arteta, means an endeavour to play out from the back and create openings through intricate play will be likely, as finesse will battle potential fire.

The Liverpool Availability

The second-placed Reds will be hoping to win this game and secure first place in the Premier League, for Christmas day at least. Liverpool’s most recent win came against West Ham, with an emphatic 5-1 at Anfield on Wednesday evening. That result came days after their frustrating 0-0 draw with Manchester United, also at home. The two away games prior to that, saw a 0-2 win unfold against Sheffield United, before a late rally to beat Crystal Palace 1-2. After their own 17 games played, Jürgen Klopp’s men sit second in the division, with 38 points taken thus far.

In terms of those available, The Spanish pair of Thiago Alcântara and Stefan Bajčetić remain sidelined until late January, which is the timeline set out for Andy Robertson also. Diogo Jota could be out until the new year (though is back in training), whereas Joël Matip appears to have played his last game for the club, after sustaining an ACL injury. Alexis Mac Allister has an ongoing issue with his knee, that appears to be more worrying than the stitches he initially received against Sheffield United. Ryan Gravenberch is expected to be fit.

Below is the expected line-up, as more changes will be expected after such a quick turnaround in games.

  • GK – Alisson Becker
  • RB – Trent Alexander Arnold
  • RCB – Ibrahima Konaté
  • LCB – Virgil van Dijk (c)
  • LB – Kostas Tsimikas
  • RCM – Curtis Jones
  • CDM – Wataru Endō
  • LCM – Dominik Szoboszlai
  • RF – Mohamed Salah
  • CF – Darwin Núñez
  • LF – Luis Díaz

In a 4-3-3 system, the Reds’ German manager may now look to play a more familiar formation, with a little less emphasis on the hybrid initiative. Pace and power will be incorporated from the opening whistle, as the home side hunt another home win.

How Will This Contest Play Out

I believe the mindset and strategy of Liverpool will be key to this game, as Arsenal will look to maintain possession from the back. The pressing game of the Reds will test the visitors to the extreme, which will make for an enthralling tactical battle. Ultimately, the West Ham game may now have invigorated Liverpool into the form of old, something which I believe will see them through to all three points.

Player to Watch – Virgil van Dijk

Score Prediction:

Liverpool 3 – 2 Arsenal

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