Football proper returns this weekend, and a meeting of of two of England’s most historic clubs will have fans out in force, for such a fixture.
Arsenal arrive at Anfield this Saturday evening, with a run of good form under their belt. A defensive structure has been polished, and the new signings are bedding in nicely. The back four will consist of the impressive Takehiro Tomiyasu, Nuno Tavares, Ben White and their defensive leader, Gabriel. This quartet is looking settled, and the form of Aaron Ramsdale has the North London fans waxing lyrical. The idea that Arsenal are a soft touch seems to have been sidelined, and they will be hoping to make a positive impact this weekend.
The Arsenal midfield has one or two questions, with Thomas Partey potentially still out. The rest of the team should be the same as against Watford, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang likely to shrug off any concerns. The exciting trio of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Alexandre Lacazette will look to overrun the Liverpool defensive line, however with Auba a doubt, the line up could shift.
Liverpool have a number of injuries this weekend, however the team will still start in a strong position. Alisson Becker will be looking to eradicate the West Ham performance, with his rate mistakes unfairly highlighted. The defence should consist of Trent Alexander Arnold, Kostas Tsmimikas (with Robbo injured), Joel Matip and Virgil Van Dijk. Fabinho will once more take up the holding role, with a welcome return for Thiago Alcantara. This controlling duo will be key to Liverpool’s performance, and Klopp will be delighted to see them start together. Jordan Henderson returned from international duty with a knock, however he is still likely to start the game. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain offers good competition, if the skipper fails to complete a fitness test.
The attack will consist of its most attacking trio, with Diogo Jota flanked by Sadio Mane and the sensational Mohamed Salah. This attack will look to pressurise and overwhelm a newish Arsenal rearguard, and this battle will be vital to how the game unfolds. Arsenal have confidence in abundance and will look to hit Liverpool on the counter.
The game has an intriguing air to it, and Liverpool probably have an increased pressure to win. Arsenal have banked some good performances, and will look to cause an away day upset. The stage is set for an open and high scoring game, therefore a nil nil draw is inevitable.
Player to watch – Thiago Alcantara
Liverpool 3 – 1 Arsenal