Liverpool have yet to win at Arsenal‘s new home, The Emirates, having been thrashed 3-0 in 2006 and drawing twice (both 1-1) in the same week last season in the League and Europe. The League draw saw a much weakened team perform admirably, with Peter Crouch scoring the Reds goal.
Rafa Benitez may have been in hospital this week but assistant manager Sammy Lee is confident it won’t affect his team; “The plan of our weeks and months is always well in advance so we knew what we were going to do. The players have done really well, they have focused and concentrated.”
“But it is a credit to Rafa and the way he has set things in place that it means we can go on with him not being here. He doesn’t like being ill and he is not happy when he is away from the football club but he will be there on Sunday.”
Benitez is without striker Fernando Torres still and defender Martin Skrtel’s remains out despite returning to full training this week. Full back Fabio Aurelio is also ruled out. Benitez may opt to move Dirk Kuyt to the right of midfield and deploy Robbie Keane alongside Gerrard up front, with Mascherano and Alonso holding midfield.
Match Preview Video
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Nasri, Gallas, Djourou, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas, Song, Diaby, Wilshere, Eboue, Fabianski, Vela, Ramsey, Van Persie, Adebayor, Bendtner.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Dossena, Aurelio, Babel, Benayoun, Gerrard, Mascherano, Lucas, Alonso, Riera, Kuyt, Keane, Ngog, Cavalieri, Insua, El Zhar.
Referee: Howard Webb
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Kick Off: 4pm