Arsenal vs. Liverpool
Friday, December 22, 2017 — 7:45pm (GMT)
Referee: Martin Atkinson
This always feels like a barnstormer of a fixture, and Friday’s meeting should be no different.
Both Liverpool and Arsenal are attack-minded outfits who approach the game in a refreshing manner, and there have been some memorable tussles throughout history.
The pair are right in the thick of the top-four battle, and both Jurgen Klopp and Arsene Wenger will know how important a win in north London could be.
The Gunners haven’t exactly been setting the world alight of late, with a lethargy rumoured to be setting in around the club, but they keep winning matches, especially at home.
Their only dropped points at the Emirates in the league this season came against Man United, when the hosts actually played very well, in general.
Liverpool should turn up with a certain swagger about them, following Sunday’s 4-0 drubbing of Bournemouth, and they have an attacking unit capable of destroying an Arsenal defence not always brimming with dominance.
Mo Salah is still in remarkable form, in particular, having now found the net 20 times in just 26 appearances this season.
The Gunners possess brilliance of their own in Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette, however, and the visitors’ back-line cannot afford to perform like it did at Man City and Tottenham earlier in the campaign.
Just one point and one place separates the two sides, with Liverpool ahead currently – if they could make it four points come late Friday night, that would be huge.
Last Meeting: Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal
Adam Lallana is in a similar boat, with the manager saying, “he is not ready for three games and minutes in a row”, so a cameo role appears likely. Daniel Sturridge has been unwell, so he will likely miss out.
Arsenal are without Olivier Giroud after the Frenchman picked up a hamstring injury in midweek, and Shkodran Mustafi, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey are also absent.
Last 5 at Arsenal (All Competitions)
Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool – August 14, 2016 (Coutinho x2, Lallana, Mane; Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chambers)
Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool – August 24, 2015
Arsenal 4-1 Liverpool – April 4, 2015 (Bellerin, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud; Henderson pen)
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool – February 16, 2014 (Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski; Gerrard pen)
Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool – November 2, 2013 (Cazorla, Ramsey)
“I must add, if you like pies, you must swing by Piebury Corner on Holloway Road or Kings Cross. They are elite.”
Arsenal – Last five results (all competitions)
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Did You Know?
There have been 21 goals in the last four games between Liverpool and Arsenal – the Reds won 4-0 and 3-1 at Anfield earlier this year, 4-3 at the Emirates in August 2016 and drew 3-3 with the Gunners on Merseyside seven months earlier.
Klopp discussed how Oxlade-Chamberlain has adapted to life at Anfield, as the 24-year-old prepares to face his former club:
“He had to adapt. He did well from the first day, but I know how it is if you’re a big signing, everyone expects you to perform immediately,” Klopp said.
“You cannot just play a little bit, you don’t know your team-mates, it’s all different.
“I was happy from the first day about his involvement [and] attitude, then since then he became more and more a Liverpool player.
“So far we were lucky he could be part of all sessions. He’s really fit, you could see it at Bournemouth. He looks in really good shape, played different positions to what he could before [at Arsenal].
“I’m fine for the moment but I see space for improvement as well, that’s good.”
TV & Live Blog Info
The match is live on Sky Sports Main Event, with coverage starting at 7pm (GMT). Kick-off is at 7:45pm.
Our matchday live blog will also be available from 7pm, with Chris Williams in charge of keeping you entertained throughout the evening.