Liverpool host Arsenal in the English Premier League in what will be a huge fixture for both clubs

The Reds have had a terrible start to 2017, winning only 2 matches since the turn of the year – one of those against League Two side Plymouth Argyle. Their form is a huge concern for Jurgen Klopp, who will be hoping for a win so that the Reds can restart their push for a Champions League spot.

Arsenal have also endured a torrid time over the last few weeks, seeing their title hopes all but ended with a devastating 3-1 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and then being humiliated in the UEFA Champions League by Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

The Reds have won only 1 match out of their last 5 fixtures – the match against Tottenham Hostpur – and have lost 3 of those. Arsenal, meanwhile, have lost 3 of their last 5 fixtures across all competitions and look bereft of confidence.

Both teams need a win, as a loss for either will deal a huge blow to their Champions League qualifying hopes and could have far-reaching consequences for the clubs. In a season where the Top 4 positions are being contested heavily, neither team can afford a slip-up at this stage of the league.

Probable Lineups and Tactics

Liverpool

Jordan Henderson is a major doubt for the fixture after picking up an injury in training and was also missing as the Reds crashed to 3-1 defeat against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium last week.

One positive for Liverpool going into the game is that fears over Dejan Lovren missing out may have been premature, as the Croatian has recovered and is expected to start in defense alongside Joel Matip.

Daniel Sturridge also missed out against Leicester through illness but is expected to return to the side after recovering, although he will likely be on the bench as Klopp opts for his preferred starting XI.

Klopp will be hoping to take advantage of Arsenal’s current lack of confidence and given that the Gunners look nervy at the start of fixtures like this, he will likely instruct his team to heap pressure on them right from the start.

Liverpool must ensure that their defensive issues do not expose them once more, however, as Alexis Sanchez has started scoring goals once more. The Reds will be looking to keep the ball and force errors from Arsenal as they look to come away with a positive result at Anfield.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Wijnaldum, Can, Lallana, Mane, Firmino, Coutinho

Arsenal

Aaron Ramsey is now fully fit after recovering from his calf muscle problem, but given the magnitude of the fixture and the fact that he has not played in a month, it seems unlikely that Arsene Wenger will start the Welshman in midfield.

Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil were both doubts for the match but are expected to be available after recovering from their respective injuries. Ozil has been criticised heavily of late for his performances but will definitely start the match if fit.

Santi Cazorla remains sidelined with an unknown return date after suffering several setbacks to his ankle injury, while Danny Welbeck will also be available after sitting out the matches against Bayern Munich and Sutton United.

Arsenal will have to ensure that they do not capitulate at the start like they did against Chelsea and Bayern Munich and definitely cannot afford a poor showing like the one they put in during the defeat to Liverpool at the Emirates on the opening day of the season.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi, Sanchez

Key Stats

  • Liverpool are unbeaten in their last three home Premier League games against Arsenal (W1 D2 L0).
  • There have been 16 goals scored in those three games at Anfield at an average of 5.3 per game, with the most recent game there ending in 3-3 draw last season
  • The Reds have only kept two clean sheets in their last 22 Premier League games against the Gunners and none in their 10 meetings at Anfield since a 1-0 win in February 2006.
  • Jurgen Klopp is aiming to become the first Liverpool manager since Gerard Houllier in 1999/2000 to do a Premier League home/away double over Arsene Wenger in a single season.
  • Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his last seven Premier League appearances against Liverpool, including three in his last two at Anfield.

Betting odds

Favourable Bets:

1. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 2.10

2. Over 10.5 Corners @ 2.00

3. Over 3.5 Bournemouth Corners @ 2.20

Underdog Bets:

1. Joshua King to score anytime @ 5.00

Prediction

Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal

Despite the goal fests that usually ensue when these two sides meet, both teams currently look slightly toothless in attack and bereft of confidence. They will both be wary of the other’s potential to hit them on the counter, but Liverpool will definitely be the more adventurous of the two.

It is a massive fixture that could have huge repercussions for both sides and their respective managers will know it. Despite this, Arsenal’s terrible performances in the big games coupled with Liverpool’s impressive performances in such games makes the Reds the overwhelming favourites for this tie.

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