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Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool will look to “dominate the space” against Arsenal

Ahead of Monday night’s clash with top-four rivals Arsenal, Brendan Rodgers discussed a pragmatic tactical approach from his Liverpool side.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 17, 2015: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers during the Premier League match against AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have been noted for taking an unorthodox, direct approach to their first two games of the season, and manager Brendan Rodgers is planning another surprising tactical blueprint for Monday night’s clash against Arsenal.

The presence of Christian Benteke and the long-ball prowess of Jordan Henderson have been key features in 1-0 victories over Stoke City and AFC Bournemouth.

But with Arsenal a more progressive footballing outfit, Rodgers is looking for his side to impose themselves at the Emirates Stadium.

Speaking ahead of the Reds’ trip to north London, the manager told reporters that he wants to “dominate the space.”

“Each game you assess and look tactically at where you can win the game,” Rodgers explained.

“I think ideally every manager will want that consistency in the team, but that’s why you have a big squad – if you want to change the game dynamically.

“If you assess the games we’ve had against Arsenal, especially at home we’ve always had dominance of the ball.”

However, with Liverpool’s away record against the Gunners particularly poor, Rodgers is clearly looking to adapt his tactics in an attempt to thwart opposing number Arsene Wenger.

“If you assess the last 10 games they’ve lost at home, the teams that have won have had dangerous possession,” he continued.

“The winners have averaged four shots on target with 43 percent possession.

“So it tells you that you can go there, you don’t need to dominate the ball – but you need to dominate the space.

“Tactically, we arrive with a good mind of how to win it.”

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - Friday, July 24, 2015: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson in action against a Malaysia XI during a friendly match at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on day twelve of the club's preseason tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Potentially losing Henderson to injury for this top-four clash with be a major blow for Rodgers, with the captain’s energy in midfield a vital component to any off-ball dominance.

Henderson also brings a strong mentality to midfield, and Rodgers will be hoping the midfielder can play a part in what he described as an important psychological contest.

“No matter when these games come in the season they’re always good for the psychological effect,” he said.

“We know they’re an outstanding group of players with some quality individual players.

“But there’s a real focus in this group, we know how to scrap and fight for the result as well as play good football.

“We’re confident we can get the result.”

If Henderson is unable to feature at the Emirates, Rodgers has a plethora of midfield options to call upon, with James Milner, Emre Can and Lucas Leiva all capable of filling the 25-year-old’s deep-lying role.

Rodgers is taking an interesting approach to Monday night’s all-important clash, and his tactical decisions could define the contest.

Liverpool will be hoping they can address the poor form they have shown in north London in the past and continue their 100 percent record for the season.

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