The Premier League as back with top-six clash on Friday night as Liverpool travel to the Emirates Stadium to test their defensive solidity against an Arsenal side who are slowly coming back to life.
Arsenal suffered a resounding 4-0 defeat in the reverse fixture back in August, a result that set the tone for a dismal start to the season from Arsene Wenger’s men. At the Emirates, they will look to continue their recent run of good form.
The French manager is looking for a response to the heavy loss at Anfield, in which Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge all scored in what proved to be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s final game as an Arsenal player.
“When you have such a long career as I have, you have some defeats unfortunately that hurt you for the rest of your life,” Wenger said. “I believe what is interesting in football is you always have a time to make up for it. When you can put things right, do it. So let’s focus on what is in front of us and turn up on Friday night with a completely different performance.”
Liverpool travel to Arsenal with the fresh memory of a 4-1 thrashing by Spurs in their last outing against a north London side in October. Having conceded just four goals in their last nine league games, Jurgen Klopp wants to maintain their defensive solidity.
“We have to be ready for a different challenge on Friday. It is Arsenal and they have quite a talented group there and they can create chances,” the Liverpool boss said. “We need to be spot-on, but all the players need to be spot-on in this specific part of the game.”
Arsenal will be without Olivier Giroud after the striker was forced off in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final win over West Ham with a hamstring injury, while Francis Coquelin also hobbled out of that game but could still be in contention. Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) is missing, as is long-term absentee Santi Cazorla (ankle). Wenger should be able to call on defender Shkodran Mustafi following a thigh injury.
Alberto Moreno (ankle) and Nathaniel Clyne (back) will miss out for Liverpool while Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) and Joel Matip (muscle) are highly unlikely to feature. Adam Lallana could be in contention to make his first start of the season after coming on for the final 20 minutes against Bournemouth last weekend having overcome a hamstring injury.
Arsenal: Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Xhaka, Wilshere, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Milner; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Coutinho, Mane.