Liverpool v Arsenal EPL Match Preview
It’s one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures on the English calendar as one of the title favourites Arsenal, visits Liverpool for a Wednesday night Premier League showdown.
KLOPP CALLS FOR REINFORCEMENTS WITH A TOP FOUR FINISH NOW IN THE BALANCE
His team has been beset by injuries but the way coach Jurgen Klopp saw his Liverpool side dismantled in the capital by West Ham United in their last league outing, made it blindingly obvious that he needs new faces at Anfield, and quickly. Such is the current lack of space of beds in the club’s infirmary, the German tactician took a pretty much reserve team to Exeter City last Friday for an FA Cup Third Round tie that finished 2-2 – the last result he would have wanted, as games begin to come thick and fast. The Merseyside club currently sit six points off a Champions League place for next season, but with sides such as Leicester City and Spurs looking less and less likely to surrender a top-four spot, the five-time winners of the competition are on the verge of missing out again next year. The betting exchanges still hold out hope however, currently quoting odds of *3.50 for the Anfield club to reach Europe’s premier club competition next season. It’s a huge few days for Liverpool; after the Gunners visit on Wednesday they then entertain bitter rivals Manchester United on Sunday. It could be a defining week for Klopp and company.
ARSENAL EXPECTING TOUGH BATTLE AT ANFIELD
Every season since they last won the Premier League in 2004, Arsenal have been in a great position going into the New Year before falling away. This season looks to be different however, with Arsene Wenger’s team now second favourites on the best football betting sites at *2.20 to be crowned champions in May. With German midfielder Mesut Ozil in the form of his life, the Gunners head to Anfield full of confidence and two points clear at the top of the table. Wenger’s side has learnt how to win ugly, as their hard-fought 1-0 home win over Newcastle United last time out suggests. This has been the missing ingredient in recent times and the Frenchman knows he will be in for another tough time on Wednesday describing the Anfield clash as a “ferocious challenge” to his table-topping team. A comfortable win at the weekend over Sunderland in the defence of their FA Cup trophy and Champions League football to look forward to in February, have got Arsenal fans dreaming once again; they will never have a better chance than this to win the prize they crave the most, the Premier League crown.
Liverpool are still missing key players for the visit of Arsenal with Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren and Philippe Coutinho all out with hamstring problems. Klopp does have some good news however, with the availability of Jordon Ibe, Jordan Henderson and James Milner. The defensive duo of Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho are also at the manager’s disposal.
Arsenal welcomes back midfielder Tomas Rosicky for the trip north but Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere are all still missing, as well as Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin. David Ospina should provide some goalkeeping cover on the bench as he too, returns from an injury lay-off.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Liverpool (4-3-3) Mignolet; Moreno, Sakho, Toure, Clyne; Can, Leiva, Allen; Firminio, Benteke, Lallana
Arsenal (4-2-3-1) Cech; Monreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Bellerin; Ramsey, Flamini; Campbell, Ozil, Walcott; Giroud
HEAD TO HEAD
Arsenal are currently on a great run having lost only one of their last ten league games. Their recent record against Liverpool is also good, having not been beaten in the last four meetings between the two. This fixture is historically one of the most entertaining in the Premier League with the last nine games played at Anfield producing 35 goals. The Gunners most famous win there came way back in 1989 when they won the championship with virtually the last kick of the game and of the season, in front of a shell-shocked Kop.
Liverpool 2.90 Draw 3.50 Arsenal 2.50
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)