On March fourth, Liverpool welcome Arsenal to Anfield for a pivotal match in the race for the Champions League spots. With both teams in poor form, a win for either side could go a long way to getting their seasons back on track.
After their 3-1 loss to Leicester City, Liverpool have won only one of their first seven league games in 2017 and have won only two of their 12 matches in all competitions since the turn of the year. With all that said, Liverpool have only lost one home league match this season and had a pretty impressive win against north London’s other team, Tottenham, in their last match at Anfield.
Arsenal have won only two of their last five matches in all competitions, with those wins coming against relegation threatened Hull City and non league Sutton United. Their 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich has all but put them out of the Champions League for this year, but a win here could go a long way to securing entry into the competition next year, though a loss could be extremely damaging to those prospects.
Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge are both late doubts for the match, according to physioroom.com, while Danny Ings is out as he continues to recover from a long term knee injury.
Arsenal will be without midfield pair Mohammed Elneny and Santi Cazorla with the Spaniard out for the rest of the season and Elneny out until at least April.
Liverpool: Sadio Mane
Liverpool’s only win this calendar year came against Arsenal’s neighbours Tottenham and it came from a huge performance by Sadio Mane. Mane is the teams leading scorer and has proved to be a bargain at the £34m Liverpool paid for him. The 24 year-old made his debut against Arsenal and burst onto the scene with a fantastic fourth goal that proved to be the winner on the day as Liverpool won 4-3 at the Emirates.
Arsenal: Granit Xhaka
Arsenal have had significant struggles against competent pressing teams in recent times. Liverpool excel at pressing and could cause Arsenal problems if the Gunners cannot control the tempo of the match. If anyone in this Arsenal team can control a game it is Granit Xhaka, so he could prove to be huge in this match. Xhaka has had an up and down first season. He’s put in lots of good performances and has been generally good, but his performances have been marred by a few major mistakes, including two red cards. Xhaka will need to keep his head if Arsenal are to have any chance against Liverpool.
Considering this match is at Anfield, Liverpool have to go in as favourites. Even if they are in poor form, Jurgen Klopp’s side are difficult to beat at home and present a very bad match up for Arsenal. The Gunners are likely to struggle with Liverpool’s pressing and this match could get out of hand if Arsenal aren’t careful.