This fixture has always promised goals and going by the early season form so far, one would expect nothing else from Liverpool and Arsenal when they square up at Anfield on Sunday.
There has never been a shortage of drama and action when the Merseysiders and North Londoners have squared up. Of course, with 34 goals to show for in the last eight fixtures between these two sides, one would expect nothing less. Add in a few exciting summer signings to go with a couple of shaky starters to the Premier League campaign and we have a nice little cocktail set up going into Sunday’s clash at Anfield.
Arsenal, who are smarting from a disappointing 1-0 loss at Stoke City last week, will be looking to bring things back on track this time around at Liverpool and Arsene Wenger more than anyone will know how tough it will be to get three points at Anfield.
Wenger’s side was at the receiving end of a league double last season at the hands of the Reds as Klopp’s Liverpool scored 7 goals past the Londoners over the course of the two games. That said, with Sanchez returning to the thick of the action on Sunday, the Gunners will certainly have hope of pulling off a result.
Liverpool, on the other hand, come at the back of securing their passage to the group stage of the Champions League after they beat Hoffenheim over the two qualifying legs. And the confidence with which they dispatched Julian Nagelsmann’s side on Wednesday night will be something Klopp will hope his side can emulate on Sunday.
Team News and Tactics
Champions League in the bag, the Reds will hope to get up and running in the league as well. After a disappointing opening week where they were held to a 3-3 draw by Watford, Liverpool fought their way back up the table with a well-fought win over Crystal Palace.
Philippe Coutinho remains unavailable due to a back injury as Klopp confirmed that he will re-integrate the want-away midfielder back into the Reds’ set-up after the international break. Despite the Brazilian’s absence, Liverpool have looked a threat going forward, thanks to the likes of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
The one aspect of their play the Reds still need to fix is their defence and no matter how quality an attack force they may have, their defensive instability has cost them many a point in the past and it already has against Watford in the opening game. Trent Alexander-Arnold who’s been a revelation at right-back for Klopp is expected to feature despite suffering a dead-leg after the game against Hoffenheim.
It remains to be seen who, out of Alberto Moreno and Andrew Robertson, gets the nod to start at left-back on Sunday. The Scotsman was incredibly impressive on his debut against Crystal Palace and with Moreno starting against Hoffenheim, Klopp may be inclined to give the former Hull star a shot in the big game.
One wouldn’t expect Klopp to tinker with his formation going into a big-game. Hi, a 4-3-3 it is for Liverpool with Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum forming the midfield three in the absence of Coutinho.
Possible Starting XI (4-3-3): Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Matip, Robertson; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
After the 1-0 loss to Stoke last weekend, Arsene Wenger will look to resign to the international break on a high with a massive victory over Liverpool. It’s almost five years since the last time the Gunners secured three points on the hallow turfs of Anfield and Wenger will hope that can change.
Alexis Sanchez is expected to feature for the first time this season and he will prove to be a valuable addition to a side that has just seen the arrivals of Alexandre Lacazette up top in attack. There are rumours Wenger will drop Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain given his on-going transfer negotiations with either Chelsea or Sunday’s rivals Liverpool. Whether a deal will be reached in time before the end of the transfer window remains to be seen.
Laurent Koscielny makes a much-awaited return after the defender finished served a three-match ban owing to his red card on the final day of last season. Arsenal are expected to go with a 3-4-2-1 formation with the return of their stalwarts. Fans and pundits alike will hope Wenger does away with his experimental mentality going into a game as big as Liverpool and field players in their right positions.
Possible Starting XI (3-4-2-1): Cech; Holding, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Xhaka, Elneny, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.
- Liverpool won both of their Premier League meetings with Arsenal last term. They haven’t won three top-flight matches in a row versus the Gunners since a four-match streak from 1996 to 1998.
- Games between these clubs have produced 17 Premier League goals in the 90th minute or later – more than any other fixture.
- Roberto Firmino has scored three goals in four Premier League games against Arsenal.
- The Gunners had the worst record in games involving the top six last season, claiming nine points and losing five of 10 matches.
- Sadio Mane has had a hand in five goals in his five previous Premier League starts against Arsenal (three goals and two assists).
1. Liverpool Draw No Bet @ 1.53
2. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.53
1. Both Teams to Score in First Half @ 3.50
Players To Watch
Liverpool: Sadio Mane
For a moment of magic, Mane is Liverpool’s go-to man at this point in time. The Senegalese forward has been irresistibly good for the Reds so far this season. Two goals from two Premier League games and a proven goal-scoring record against Arsenal, he will be relied upon on Sunday as well, especially in the absence of Coutinho.
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez
Boy, did Arsenal miss him last week. The Chilean has been the single biggest driving force in this side over the course of the past few seasons and fans have been fearing the prospect of losing their best player all summer and they most certainly will be delighted by the prospect of him lining up opposite the Reds on Sunday.
Liverpool 3-2 Arsenal
There certainly promises to be goals and a lot of goals going into this one but purely based on current run of form and confidence, one would tip the pendulum in favour of Liverpool. This result would hardly be a surprising one given the spate of results we have come to see between these two in the past. One things for sure, three points is absolutely necessary for both the sides as they look to set the pace early on in the season going into the International break.