Liverpool’s season is in serious danger of falling apart, and a win on Saturday evening is vital against a similarly unpredictable Arsenal side.
Liverpool vs. Arsenal
Saturday, March 4, 2017 – 5:30pm (GMT)
Referee: Robert Madley
It is official: Monday’s 3-1 defeat at Leicester City was a new low point in the Reds’ season.
Not many saw such a pathetic performance coming, with the trip to La Manga supposed to freshen up the squad and see them return with an extra spring in their step.
Instead, Liverpool were truly appalling at the King Power Stadium, and their chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League now look bleak.
Quite what has happened to Jurgen Klopp‘s men in 2017 is something of a mystery, but they a far cry from the side who were wowing the masses and racking up wins earlier in the season.
Saturday’s visit of Arsenal is a huge game in Liverpool’s season, and it pits two under-fire teams against each other.
On their day, both are capable of looking the best team in the country, but a soft centre means far too many sloppy results come their way.
This really is a match where anything could happen—either team could win 3-0, or it could be a 4-4 draw—but for the Reds’ sake, anything other than three points is not good enough.
On a positive note, Liverpool have been exceptional against their top-six rivals this season—now would be a terrible time for that to change.
Last Meeting: Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool
Jordan Henderson is once again out with a foot injury, having missed the defeat to Leicester, and Liverpool rarely look the same team without the skipper present.
Dejan Lovren has been training in the latter part of the week, so could return from his seventh injury of the season. If not, Klopp will have to choose between Lucas Leiva and Ragnar Klavan at centre-back.
Daniel Sturridge remains sidelined, with the striker suffering from a hip issue, having originally flown home from La Manga with a virus.
The rest of the team picks itself, with Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner at full-back, despite dips in form, and Emre Can anchoring the midfield in place of Henderson. Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana should occupy the more attack-minded roles.
Liverpool’s much-lauded front three of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino were all poor against Leicester, but they should retain their places. A big performance is needed from the influential trio on Saturday.
Arsenal don’t have too many injury problems, although Mohamed Elneny is definitely out and Santi Cazorla could miss the rest of the season.
Mesut Ozil was rumoured to be struggling with illness, but the German appears to have recovered in time for the game.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Arsenal – Last five results (all competitions)
Klopp said he will be looking to his supposed leaders for inspiration on Saturday, and was generally positive about the game:
“I was a real mentality player, my strength was pushing team-mates,” he said.
“You try everything in the game [as a manager]—have influence from the sideline.
“It’s Anfield, it’s our stadium, the last game we played here was fantastic. We want to have this feeling again.”
The top-six showdown is BT Sport’s live offering on Saturday evening, with coverage getting underway on BT Sport 1 at 5pm.
Our popular matchday live blog will be running from 4:45pm, with lots of interesting content before kick-off, and minute-by-minute updates during the game.