A potential Christmas cracker at the Emirates – Arsenal vs. Liverpool Preview

22 December 2017

Liverpool visit Arsenal in the Premier League on Friday night, as the Reds tackle their final game before Christmas.


Arsenal vs. Liverpool

Friday, December 22, 2017 — 7:45pm (GMT)
Emirates Stadium
Premier League
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

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 16, 2017: Liverpool's Joel Matip during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Burnley at Anfield. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

Klopp has confirmed that Joel Matip is back fit again, although it is unlikely that he will start, following some decent form from Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan.

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.

Alberto Moreno and Nathaniel Clyne are still out, and will be for the foreseeable future, with Andrew Robertson and Joe Gomez expected to start at full-back.

Sadio Mane‘s form has been disappointing of late and it will be interesting to see if he comes back into the side, having missed out against Bournemouth.

With Salah, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino certainties to play, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in very good form, what will happen with Liverpool’s reigning Player of the Year?

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)

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring his sides fourth goal with Jurgen Klopp during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date August 14th, 2016 Pic David Klein/Sportimage via PA Images

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)

 

The Emirates

LONDON, ENGLAND - Friday, March 4, 2016: A general view of the exterior of the Emirates Stadium before the FA Youth Cup 6th Round match between Arsenal and Liverpool. (Pic by Paul Marriott/Propaganda)

Capacity: 60,432

Away fans’ pubs: “The Drayton Arms/Park, or for a mixture of home and away supporters, Twelve Pins and/or The Blackstock,” Arsenal fan Faisal Khan tells us.

“I must add, if you like pies, you must swing by Piebury Corner on Holloway Road or Kings Cross. They are elite.”

 

Form

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2017: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Arsenal – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 1-0 vs. Newcastle
Drew 0-0 vs. West Ham
Drew 1-1 vs. Southampton
Won 6-0 vs. BATE Borisov
Lost 3-1 vs. Man United

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 4-0 vs. Bournemouth
Drew 0-0 vs. West Brom
Drew 1-1 vs. Everton
Won 7-0 vs. Spartak Moscow
Won 5-1 vs. Brighton

 

Did You Know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 27, 2017: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino scores the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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’s View

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

General view of a spidercam - Anfield, television camera (Peter Byrne/PA Wire.)

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.

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