Liverpool’s Fab 3 – Mane, Firmino and Salah – vs Arsenal’s impressive new signing Dani Ceballos, fresh from a Man of the Match display against Burnley, should guarantee goals galore at Anfield on Saturday with 53 scored over their last 12 matches including that Firmino hat trick last season.
With both teams currently unbeaten in the Premiership and evenly matched over their last 6 games – 3 wins, 2 draws, 1 defeat – this match should be the customary thriller that even the neutrals look forward to.
Despite Ladbrokes and Coral backing Liverpool 1/2 for the win, with no date for the return of Allison Becker, the Reds are exposed at the back. Put your money on both teams to score – they’ve averaged at least 3 goals during every match over the last decade – but Adrien’s absolute howler against Southampton will see the Gunners rattling the Spaniard’s composure at every opportunity.
Jurgen Klopp confirmed this week that Naby Keita is ‘doing well’ and Dejan Lovren is back in training but with Matip and Gomez vying for that centre back spot alongside van Dijk, his future at the club could be looking uncertain.
Mesut Ozil could be back in Unai Emery’s Arsenal squad after the carjacking incident that compromised his safety, while Granit Xhaka is likely to make it into the starting XI after injury forced him to miss the 2-1 win over Burnley.
The last 3 meetings between the teams ended 3-1,4-0 and 5-1 in Liverpool’s favour prompting Emery to quip that he didn’t want “to play Liverpool, ever.” It remains to be seen whether Klopp’s side will exploit Arsenal’s style of playing deep within their own half and turn that midfield won ball to their own goal winning advantage as they’ve demonstrated so ably in the past.
For once, the key to winning this match could lie in defence rather than attack.
Arsenal will need to keep their cool over the opening phase of the match and if they can emerge unscathed after the first 25 minutes, then it could be game on for a famous victory.
They’ll certainly fancy their chances against a Liverpool squad that are lacking their usual solidity at the back, and with Caballos rampant Klopp may have a real problem on his hands. “It’s a big opponent, a strong opponent and it’s Anfield,” he said in his pre-match press conference.