Have you heard all the statistics that have been doing the rounds? I'll tell you them anyway.
1) Liverpool have not beaten Arsenal at the Emirates since 2011. You remember the game right? The one where Samir Nasri played his last game for us even though he was effectively a Manchester City player. Emmanuel Frimpong had been sent off for two bookings and then Liverpool scored two late goals. Since then we have started getting some bigger bucks coming into the club, sold off the likes of Bendtner, Chamakh, Miquel, Lansbury and Frimpong. We have rebuilt our squad with Özil, Cazorla, Alexis, Welbeck and other such players. Since then Liverpool have been sent to the naughty step when visiting the red half of North London.
2) Arsenal are the form team in the Premier League, winning six Premier League games on the spin. As well as an Old Trafford victory in the FA Cup thrown in for good measure. I'm talking domestic football here so don't interrupt me while I'm talking.
3) Arsene Wenger and Oliver Giroud were handed the manager of the month and player of the month awards respectively. Nothing ever goes wrong immediately after that right?
4) Arsenal have the entire squad available on the training pitch for the first time since 2005 or such madness. That is ten years of missing personnel. Yes, all clubs have to deal with injuries but I'm pretty sure that at least 95% of clubs have had less injury problems than Arsenal. Meanwhile Liverpool are without captain Steven Gerrard for stamping on a Manchester United player. Centre back Martin Škrtel is also suspended for some stamping action.
5) Arsenal are currently six points above Liverpool. An Arsenal win today would pretty much cement a position above them in the table until the end of the season.
So given all of the above; including an undefeated record for four years at home, why is it that I feel so uneasy about this match?
Why do I feel like the international break came at the wrong time completely. Our vehicle was purring along nicely but the break has felt like someone stopping our car, dismantling the entire vehicle, taking the parts off to different places around the world then slotting it all together and hoping it drives just as it did before. I hope so, but I have my worries.
Liverpool's position also means that they can only approach this match with one mind set, and this can alter the oppositions way of thinking also, even on a subconscious level.
We should have been beaten and also won in a game we drew at Anfield earlier this season. Not many teams have dominated us quite as Liverpool did that day and yet we were seconds from snatching all three points until Škrtel rose highest to plant home the equaliser.
We failed to deal with both Liverpool's intensity and also how they outnumbered us in the middle of the pitch with their 3-5-2 system. I wonder how Arsene will look to counteract that this lunch time. Perhaps Danny Welbeck will start on the bench so we can fit Ramsey, Cazorla, Coquelin and Özil into the same team. Or maybe we will just concede possession and look to get in behind their wingbacks with the pace Alexis and Welbeck.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
Given that Mesut Özil has not started wide for a number of weeks now; that line up is probably incorrect so don't take my word for it.
There is no reason why Arsenal could enter this game with any complacency but if we do, I'm pretty sure we'll be punished. After losing to Manchester United during their last outing, I expect Liverpool to approach this game with 100% intensity. They'll want to be stronger in the challenge as well as win the second ball. If we are able to win those battles then it depends on how quickly we can find our game after the international break.
I am usually so confident before a home game, especially when our form is so good, so hopefully my fears are misplaced and we'll end the season in great form. It is possible given that we have a full squad to choose from. My mind is still struggling to compute this information, hopefully I will get most of next season to get my head around it.
Daniel Sturridge was supposed to be out injured for a month when England were playing is now miraculously fit. Amazing. So it will be interesting to see who partners Koscielny at the back. Also the whole Sterling thing will be interesting. Does he start at wing back? Unlikely. How will he play after his midweek interview?
You can read a Liverpool perspective in this weeks opposition view section. Post match stuff later.