LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 3, 2021: Arsenal's manager Mikel Arteta during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mikel Arteta on “fascinating” Anfield and his admiration for Jurgen Klopp

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is under no illusions about the difficulty of facing Liverpool this weekend, whether it be because of the Anfield factor or the brilliance of Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds face one of their biggest games of the Premier League season on Saturday, with an in-form Gunners outfit making the trip north.

The 3-2 defeat at West Ham is still a result that stings and Liverpool must produce a response, or risk losing further ground on Chelsea and Man City.

As for Arteta, he has overcome both a poor start to the season and calls for his sacking, slowly turning his young side into an impressive outfit.

Three successive league wins are a testament to that, with an ever-improving back-line complemented by an attack that possesses a mix of youthful exuberance and experience.

Arsenal are without a league win at Anfield since September 2012 – six defeats and two draws since then – and speaking to reporters on Friday, Arteta explained why it is such a tough place to visit:

“It is always a test, it is a fascinating stadium to play football in. You have to be at your best, and raise the level to your maximum standards, emotionally, physically, tactically, because if you don’t you will be exposed.

“Going to Anfield is always a test, but if you are able to do that, there are not many grounds as good as there to feel that you are a proper footballer.

“When you don’t, like it has happened other times, after you feel regrets for things that you haven’t done or you should have done differently, or you haven’t approached the game in the right way. I think it’s one of those places where you have to go there and believe on the day and show why you want to play football.”

The 39-year-old former Everton man will come up against a managerial colossus in Klopp this weekend, with the tactical acumen of both potentially holding the key to the result.

When discussing the job the German has done at Anfield, Arteta could only shower him with praise, claiming there has never been a better time in Reds history:

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reacts during the Premier League match at the London Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday November 7, 2021.

“It is difficult to judge just on this season because what they have done in recent years, I think Jurgen and his staff have managed to bring the club to the best moments in their history and to sustain it, which is the hardest thing to do.

“So they have transformed the energy around the place; I think the cohesion and energy they have created in the stadium is something special, and Jurgen has done that at other clubs he has been at so it’s a talent he has. He has built from there and obviously been extremely successful.”

A pivotal figure at Anfield is likely to be Salah, with the Egyptian the Premier League‘s best player so far this season, despite a three-game scoring drought – a disaster by his incredible standards!

While the 29-year-old may arguably be the world’s best footballer currently, Arteta admitted there won’t be special focus on him:

“We have a plan like every week for the strengths and weakness of every team that we have to minimise and expose the weaknesses that they have.”

Matches between Liverpool and Arsenal are rarely dull – there have been 38 goals in the last eight Anfield match-ups – and there appears to be no reason why this one will be any different.

A buoyant Anfield crowd under the lights, coupled with inspired nights from Klopp and Salah, will go a long way towards a much-needed Reds win, but the Gunners will fancy their chances too.