Arsenal will play hosts to Liverpool in what will be a vital clash in the context of the Premier League title race and the battle for the top four.
Two of the most in-form teams in the Premier League will square off against each other on Wednesday night, when Arsenal play hosts to Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium. As we enter the business end of the 2021/22 season, this fixture could have major repercussions in the race for the league title as well as the battle for the Champions League spots.
Arsenal have built up crucial momentum, having won each of their last five Premier League fixtures. The Gunners defeated Leicester City 2-0 last time out, which took them to fourth place on the table, one point clear of Manchester United and with three games in hand over the Red Devils. A win on Wednesday would open up a four-point gap for the north Londoners, helping them strengthen their grip on the position.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have been in fine form in 2022, losing just one game in all competitions – a 1-0 defeat to Inter Milan in the Champions League, which was inconsequential in the larger scheme of things. The Reds have won eight in a row in the Premier League, most recently beating Brighton, and are just four points shy of leaders Manchester City, who were held to a draw by Crystal Palace on Monday.
With Jurgen Klopp’s side having a game in hand, a victory against Arsenal will take them to within just one point of the reigning champions, setting up a blockbuster title run-in. Having already beaten the Gunners twice in three games this season (D1) – once in the league and once in the Carabao Cup, Liverpool will back their chances to do so again on Wednesday night.
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Arsenal have just one injury doubt heading into the game in right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu, who is recovering from a calf issue. Mikel Arteta will set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation at the Emirates Stadium as he looks to stifle Liverpool’s attackers while playing their natural attacking game.
Aaron Ramsdale, who earned a lot of praise after his performance against Leicester City, is a sure starter in goal for the Gunners. Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes are permanent fixtures in the centre-back positions, while Cedric Soares should again feature at right-back, with Tomiyasu a doubt. There is no looking past Kieran Tierney on the left, with the Scotsman set for an intense battle against Mohamed Salah.
Thomas Partey, who was on target at the weekend against the Foxes, will form the double-pivot in the middle of the park alongside Granit Xhaka. The latter will need to keep his composure and discipline in this crucial encounter for his team. Martin Odegaard, who has been in exceptional form of late, will carry the major creative burden operating in the No. 10 role.
Up top, Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette are certain to start on the right flank and through the centre respectively. Emile Smith Rowe, who returned in the weekend clash, could be in line to replace Gabriel Martinelli on the left.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Lacazette
Liverpool will be without veteran midfielder James Milner and defender Kostas Tsimikas, who are ruled out with illness. Ibrahima Konate is back in contention after missing the last two games, while Mohamed Salah, who picked up an injury in the previous game, is also fit and available.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 15, 2022
The Premier League Golden Boot front-runner is expected to start in his usual right-wing position at the Emirates. January signing Luis Diaz should line up on the left flank after scoring his first Premier League goal against Brighton last time out. Sadio Mane should operate in a central role again, with Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino providing options from the bench.
Thiago Alcantara should occupy one of the three slots in the centre of the park and look to help Liverpool control the region with his composure on the ball and range of distribution. The onus of thwarting Arsenal’s attacking moves will be on Fabinho, who will have to pay special attention to Martin Odegaard. Jordan Henderson will provide the legs in the engine room.
Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip have been in top form of late and should continue at the heart of the Liverpool defence. There is no looking past Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson in the full-back slots, with the pair acting as the primary attacking outlet for the visitors on Wednesday. Alisson Becker will guard the Liverpool goal.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Diaz
- Arsenal have won just one of the last 18 meetings in all competitions (D8 L9) against Liverpool, beating them 2-1 at home in July 2020. The Gunners have failed to score in any of the last five meetings.
- Liverpool have won eight Premier League games in a row for the first time since a run of 18 ended in February 2020. They have scored 21 goals and conceded just two in this run.
- Arsenal come into this match on a five-match winning run in the Premier League. They are looking to win six consecutive games in the competition for the first time since a run of seven under Unai Emery in 2018.
- Liverpool have won their last two away games against Arsenal in all competitions – as many as they had in their previous 24 visits to the Emirates/Highbury combined (D10 L12).
- Alexandre Lacazette has been involved in ten goals in his last 11 Premier League appearances, scoring three and setting up seven.
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Only two players in Premier League history have reached 20 goals and 10 assists more than once:
Thierry Henry 🤝 Mohamed Salah 👑 pic.twitter.com/J4aqGX67Cs
— GOAL (@goal) March 15, 2022
Despite all the attention in the press over his contract situation, the Liverpool superstar remains laser-focused on his duties on the pitch and has continued to be the difference-maker for the Reds. Mohamed Salah was on target at the weekend against Brighton & Hove Albion and took his tally to 20 Premier League goals for the season – it is the fourth time in his career that he reached the 20-goal milestone in the competition.
Salah looks well on his way to win another Golden Boot in the Premier League, with his closest competitor – Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo – 8 goals behind. The 29-year-old will be hoping to add more to his tally on Wednesday night to further increase his chances of finishing as top-scorer, while also helping the Reds close the gap to the top.
Arsenal 1-2 Liverpool
Arsenal are enjoying a good run of results, having picked up five wins in a row, which has made them favourites for a top four finish. They have made many positive strides under Mikel Arteta, but the game against Liverpool will be one of their biggest tests of the campaign so far.
The Reds have racked up eight consecutive wins in the Premier League and have won their last three fixtures on the road in the competition. At the same time, they have beaten Arsenal on their previous two visits to the Emirates in all competitions. They also thrashed the Gunners 4-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this term.
While it promises to be a much closer battle this time out, the form of Mohamed Salah and the impact Luis Diaz has made tilts the scales in the Reds’ favour. The Hard Tackle predicts a narrow, hard-fought victory for Jurgen Klopp’s team, taking them to within just one point of leaders Manchester City.