One of the tightest contested games in the Premier League’s history surfaces once more on Wednesday night as Liverpool host Arsenal at Anfield. Both clubs are steeped in history with the home side still coveting a first Premier League trophy. Arsenal have won the Premier League on three occasions. Liverpool are famed for their teams of old that conquered both Europe and England, lifting a record 18 first division titles. Here we have our full preview.
Liverpool enter the game in bad shape with a whole host of injuries to their first team squad. The reds were reduced to a barely recognisable squad against Exeter City in Friday night’s FA Cup game. Christian Benteke and Jose Enrique were Liverpool’s only established senior players, the latter has not been a key figure for the reds in well over 18 months however. Klopp did have Adam Lallana and Lucas on the substitutes bench but put his faith in his youth, you could argue it didn’t pay off with Liverpool now facing a replay, a game that could be deemed unnecessary for Liverpool. Liverpool are facing a difficult period of fixtures with 5 games in 15 days, a schedule which Klopp has already stated his disapproval. I do sympathise a little with the reds manager as there was no way his side should have been made to play a Tuesday night and Friday night cup game. There has been little recovery time for his already fragile squad with Jordon Ibe the latest casualty. Liverpool I am sure would be happy to come away with a draw and no further injuries. The injury woes have forced Klopp to recall youngster Seyi Ojo from his loan spell with Wolverhampton Wanderers. As many as 13 Liverpool senior players could not be deemed fit to start this weekend. With such a threadbare squad Klopp will be forced to use some of his less experienced players and hope they step up to the plate. Friday was a potential banana skin for Liverpool which they were lucky to come away from with a draw. This game here is a much tougher task and I fear that they will be outclassed by a confident Arsenal team.
Arsenal triumphed in the FA Cup on Saturday with a 3-1 victory against Premier League strugglers Sunderland. Despite an early Sunderland goal putting the Gunners behind Wenger’s side persevered to a comfortable victory. Joel Campbell put Arsenal back on level terms at half time, by this point the momentum was with Arsenal. It took until 72 minutes before Arsenal substitute Aaron Ramsey broke the deadlock, having only been on the field for 5 minutes. Olivier Giroud wrapped the game up 4 minutes later and sealed Arsenal’s progression to the 4th round of the tournament. Regarding Arsenal’s Premier League form they could not ask for much more. The North Londoners are two points clear at the top of the table and are on course for a first Premier League title in 12 years. Mesut Ozil is the name on every Arsenal fan's lips having assisted 16 goals in 18 games played. Ozil’s knack for picking a pass has gained him global recognition and he is a sure candidate for the PFA Player of the season next time around. Arsenal generally perform better at The Emirates stadium having only won 2 of their last 5 away fixtures. Their last away game ended in a dismal 4-0 defeat against Southampton in a night to forget for the league leaders. Olivier Giroud who was on target in Arsenal’s weekend FA Cup tie is Arsenal’s most potent striker this term. The France international has his critics but you can’t fault his record, scoring 10 goals and providing 2 assists already this season.
Arsenal - Santi Cazorla (knee), Francis Coquelin (knee), Tomas Rosicky (knee), Alexis Sanchez (hamstring), Danny Welbeck (knee) and Jack Wilshere (knee) give the Arsenal physio team plenty of man hours. They will all be unavailable this weekend.
Liverpool - If you thought Arsenal’s injury troubles were bad then you obviously haven’t seen Liverpools. The merseysiders are without a host of first teamers, a bulk of which are hamstring and lower body injuries. Philippe Coutinho (hamstring), John Flanagan (lack of match fitness), Joseph Gomez (knee), Danny Ings (knee), Dejan Lovren (hamstring), Divock Origi (hamstring), Jordan Rossiter (hamstring), and Martin Skrtel (hamstring) will not feature for the reds. As well as that Daniel Sturridge (hamstring), Mamaddou Sakho (knee), Kolo Toure (knock), Jordan Ibe (hamstring), and Jordan Henderson (heel) are major doubts for Liverpool.
Arsenal win 11/8
Arsenal or draw 21/50
Giroud to score anytime 23/20
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