Gabriel Magalhaes is set to replace David Luiz while Bukayo Saka will be in contention to start when Arsenal welcome Liverpool to the Emirates on Saturday.
Arsenal will be hoping to return to winning ways and keep their top-six hopes afloat when they play hosts to Liverpool at the Emirates on Saturday night. And, Mikel Arteta has a mixed bag of updates on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
The major concern has centred around Bukayo Saka, who has been struggling with a hamstring injury, which forced him to miss England duty during the international break. Apart from Saka, Arteta has also been sweating over the fitness of Granit Xhaka and Emile Smith Rowe, but David Luiz is unavailable due to a knee injury.
During his pre-match press conference, Arteta did provide an update on the general team news before moving to Saka and Smith Rowe. The Arsenal boss said, “There are still a lot that I haven’t seen yet. We will see them this afternoon and assess the squad tomorrow, see how everybody is feeling and make some decisions. But so far, no big news. He [Saka] hasn’t trained with the team yet.”
“He’s been doing some individual work. We had to pull him out of the England squad unfortunately. He’s feeling better, but he hasn’t trained with the team yet. He [Smith Rowe] has some discomfort in his hip and that’s why they decided to keep him out. We will see today how he comes here, we will speak with the doctors and the physios and see if he is available for training tomorrow.”
Saka did rejoin training on Friday, but having had little time to work with the group, it is likely that he will only be fit enough to make the bench. The same goes for Smith Rowe, meaning Nicolas Pepe and Martin Odegaard become certainties alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in the Arsenal attack.
In midfield, Xhaka ought to be fit enough to take on Liverpool, with Thomas Partey an automatic pick in the double pivot. If Xhaka cannot make it, Dani Ceballos will likely start in his stead. As for defence, Gabriel Magalhaes will replace David Luiz in the central defensive partnership, where he will pair up with Pablo Mari. Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney will be the two full-backs, with Bernd Leno taking his place in goal.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Leno; Bellerin, Mari, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Pepe, Odegaard, Aubameyang; Lacazette