This fixture could not have come at a better time for Liverpool than for Arsenal. With a busy scheduling period in front of us, Arsene Wenger was rightly irritated by the timing in which his side had to play Liverpool and Manchester United in a matter of just 4 days. This match is as important for Liverpool as for Arsenal as both the teams are fighting it hard to shrug of their doubters already this season.
Liverpool were a formidable force when they last time faced the gunners in November. They were cruising at that time, but in that fixture their winning streak was forced a major halt, thanks to Arsenal, who became only the first side in the Premier league against which Liverpool didn’t scored in the presence of SAS.
What comes their way then could be again repeated this Saturday. Midfield battle will be the key and with key man Lucas out due to injury and with an out of form Coutinho, Liverpool squad look bleak, if not on ground than certainly on paper. So it won’t be foolish if Allen gets a nod in front of the Brazilian to start.
One thing Liverpool could rely on is their passing movement, in the last couple of matches they have followed the Counter Attacking football. Although that style of play granted them goals, but that also kept them at back foot, before the arrival of first goal.
With no one on the bench to look for, Brendan Rodgers has to make sure that the Plan A he employs at the starting whistle should be enough to see his side through, they don’t have any game changers on the bench, they have the quality that could see the match through instead of winning it, so it all depends upon whether Rodgers’ get it right at the start.
Most interesting thing in this battle is the strength and weakness of both teams. If long balls are the weakness of Liverpool to defend, Arsenal certainly have the quality to defend better against the through balls.
They say when you are winning, almost anything that happens could be claimed as right and wise. With all due respect, this is more than a truth for Arsenal, anybody who watched that Crystal Palace game and their draw against Southampton could claim that both of those teams had a handful of chances that any quality opposition will not let go begging.
Arsenal haven’t lost a match in which both Mertesacker and Koscielny have started this season. But keeping in minds this duo hasn’t faced the wrath of United or City away from home, this is more than a test for the IMMOVABLE force that Arsenal have in their defense.
Arsenal’s recent record at Anfield is more than amusing for the gunners. They have lost just once out of last 13 against the reds, and with injury affected Liverpool team in front of them, this stat looks slightly secure come the start of match.
Out of the 58 goals that Liverpool have scored this season, only two have been scored against the likes of the current big four, and against a team who had kept you quiet in the first term, they will be looking more of this to agitate the doubters.
Arsenal will be playing a more defensive than attacking approach to be honest, Arteta could easily be the man to serve as the third defender with Per and Koscielny. With the slow paced yet accurately positioned German, they will not be looking to go all out against the 2nd most prolific goal scoring side in the Premier League at the moment in front of goal.
So it’s a battle of who’s gonna score the first goal. If Liverpool gets a goal which they are more likely to get in the early stages of the first half, this match can turn out to be a cracker depending upon their weak defensive line. However, If Arsenal gets an early nudge, then a replay of November fixture looks more than likely.