Preview: Liverpool vs. Arsenal

Preview: Liverpool vs. Arsenal

In a reversal of roles from seasons gone by, Liverpool host Arsenal at Anfield in Sunday afternoon’s Premier League clash, with the Gunners looking to pass another test of their title credentials while Jurgen Klopp’s team play catch-up in the top-four face.

Mikel Arteta’s men overcame a slow start to dispatch Leeds United 4-1 last time out, while the Reds once again could not find a way past Chelsea in a goalless stalemate.

Death, taxes, and Liverpool playing out a goalless draw with Chelsea. None of the last four editions of that battle of the behemoths has seen either side score in 90 minutes, but the Merseyside giants were undoubtedly the more satisfied come the final whistle.

Reece James and Kai Havertz were both left to rue disallowed goals in the first game of Chelsea’s post-Graham Potter era, but Klopp is confident that he will not share the same fate as his English compatriot – or any other notable victims of the recent spate of managerial sackings – thanks to his brimming collection of medals from his time at Anfield.

However, three losses and a draw from their last four games in all tournaments is form of a side embroiled in a relegation dogfight rather than the hunt for Champions League qualification, and Liverpool’s recent failures have dropped the Reds down to eighth spot in the table – 10 points worse off than fourth-placed Manchester United on the same number of matches.

During that displeasing winless streak, Liverpool have only managed to find the back of the net once, but all of their games in that sequence have come away from home, and Anfield comforts have largely still been kind to those in Merseyside red during their troubled campaign.

Only Arsenal, Man United and Manchester City have performed better on familiar territory this term than Klopp’s side, who have taken 16 points from the last 18 on offer at home – keeping clean sheets in each of their last four – and Arsenal could do with taking a leaf out of Real Madrid’s book rather than Man United’s when it comes to Anfield preparations.

Imploring the fit-again Gabriel Jesus to create “chaos” upon his return to the first XI, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta revelled in the Brazilian’s feats during the visit of Leeds last Saturday, although the Gunners were not at the races whatsoever before Jesus drew first blood from the spot.

After ending a 14-game goal drought stretching back to October 1, Jesus completed his brace either side of strikes from Ben White and Granit Xhaka in an Emirates romping – Arsenal’s second home victory in a row by a 4-1 scoreline following their demolition job of Crystal Palace.

Already guaranteed to finish with their best points total since the 2016-17 campaign, Arsenal retained their eight-point lead over Man City in first place thanks to their drubbing of Leeds, although the champions still possess a game in hand and could once again temporarily reduce that gap when they tackle basement side Southampton on Saturday evening.

Responding in the manner of champions since being put to the sword by Man City in April, Arsenal are out to win their eighth Premier League game on the bounce this weekend – as well as their fourth in a row away from home – and they are far and away the best-performing side on their travels with 34 points taken from a possible 42.

Furthermore, Arteta’s men have scored at least three goals in each of their last five Premier League victories – never before in their top-flight history have they done so six games in a row – and the Gunners truly made the rest of the division stand up and take notice when they defeated Liverpool 3-2 at the Emirates back in October.

However, the Arsenal army have often lacked the artillery to break down the Anfield walls, as Liverpool are unbeaten in nine Premier League home games against the visitors – winning each of their last six by a 22-4 aggregate scoreline – but the time is nigh for the Gunners to end their Merseyside hoodoo.

Liverpool Premier League form:

Liverpool form (all competitions):

Arsenal Premier League form:

Arsenal form (all competitions):

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