Thomas Partey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could miss out while Martin Odegaard is in line for a start when Arsenal face Liverpool at Anfield.
Arsenal will be aiming to break into the top four of the Premier League standings when they lock horns with Liverpool at Anfield this weekend on Matchday 12.
Heading into the game, manager Mikel Arteta has some pressing roster issues to deal with as captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and star midfielder Thomas Partey are doubts for the contest. The former was flown back in early from international duty with Gabon, while the latter could not play for Ghana during the two-week break due to fitness problems.
Providing an update on the pair during his pre-match presser, Arteta said, “No it wasn’t pre-planned [for Auba to fly home early], we have to assess him and see how he is and make a decision. Same again [for Partey], he could not play for the national team, he really tried to do that because they had a massive game and he really pushed for that one, but he wasn’t close enough to do that. Again, it’s something we have to assess today.”
Apart from the duo, the Gunners also have to make do without seasoned campaigner Granit Xhaka who is a long-term absentee, while Sead Kolasinac is also unavailable for selection. Having gone eight league games unbeaten, Arteta and Arsenal will be intent on extending that run when they come face to face with Liverpool.
Aaron Ramsdale has been one of the standout performers in the Premier League this season and warrants a place between the sticks for Arsenal ahead of Bernd Leno. Fellow summer signings Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu have settled in well and grown into vital cogs for Arteta’s side. They should feature from the start against the Reds, while Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney complete the back four.
Albert Sambi Lokonga is another player that is making all the right noises for Arsenal. The young Belgian is a shoo-in in the middle of the park. But with Partey’s involvement clouded with uncertainty, Ainsley Maitland-Niles could get a run-out at Anfield on Saturday evening.
Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe have been the preferred options out wide for Arteta. The Spaniard is unlikely to tinker with that formula coming up against Jurgen Klopp’s men as there will be spaces left behind the full-backs for the pair to exploit.
Alexandre Lacazette has been used as a hybrid No. 10-cum-auxiliary striker role in recent games, but with amid doubts over Aubameyang’s fitness, the Frenchman could slot in as the No. 9. Martin Odegaard could, thus, get an opportunity to slot in as the central attacking midfielder at Anfield.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Lokonga, Maitland-Niles, Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Lacazette