Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker says Luis Suarez is “like a cheeky boy”, but was full of praise for the Liverpool striker.
The Gunners face Liverpool in Saturday’s Premier League lunchtime kick-off, with the visitors looking to complete a league double over the Reds, having won 2-0 at the Emirates earlier in the season.
There will be some key tactical battles across the field, and none more so than how Arsenal’s defence will stand up against Liverpool’s in-form attack.
The German international also reflected on the speculation that linked Suarez with a move to North London last season, with Arsenal making several formal bids for the now 27-year-old.
“Suárez is like a cheeky boy, he looks like a cheeky boy who can really switch on and off how he wants to be, so that is really something,” Mertesacker told the Guardian. “When he is on the pitch, what is going on around him doesn’t bother him.
“He is just a pure striker and that is what comes out after the transfer requests and him saying: ‘It’s better for me to leave because I want to play Champions League.’ When we heard that Arsenal might be interested in him, obviously we were up for it and we thought, ‘Yeah, he would fit in.’ But after, we got Özil.”
Liverpool haven’t beaten Arsenal at Anfield in the Premier League since 2007, as discussed by This Is Anfield writer Henry Jackson this week.
A win for the Reds could see them close the gap on league leaders Arsenal to just five points, with second and third placed Manchester City and Chelsea still to come to Anfield before the season’s end.
Liverpool vs Arsenal gets underway at 12:45pm and it’s live on BT Sport 1 in the UK.