Liverpool have the opportunity to edge ever close to Man City with a win cutting the deficit to just one point in what is the fourth meeting with Arsenal this season.
Arsenal vs. Liverpool
Premier League (29) | The Emirates
Wednesday, March 16, 2022 | 8.15pm (GMT)
Jurgen Klopp‘s side are enjoying a formidable run of form in the Premier League, winning their last eight in a row and conceding only two goals in that time.
The latest, a 2-0 win at Brighton, has set up the opportunity to make the most of City’s draw at Crystal Palace in what is the game in hand after the League Cup final delayed this fixture.
Here are 10 things to know ahead of Wednesday’s kickoff.
1. Arsenal on a hot streak
While Liverpool are enjoying a winning streak, as too are Mikel Arteta’s side having picked up a maximum of 15 points from the last 15 available.
Victories over Brentford, Watford, Leicester and two over Wolves have the Gunners nicely placed in the top-four battle, one point ahead of Man United with three games in hand.
But one of those matches includes the Reds and while Klopp’s side have been defensively resilient, Arsenal have proven susceptible to a late or early goal.
As for this season’s record against the Reds, it’s two defeats and a draw with the aggregate score 6-0 in favour of Wednesday’s visitors.
2. How could they lineup?
After naming an unchanged XI in their last three victories, it would not be a surprise to see Arteta opt for more of the same.
Emile Smith Rowe’s return after illness could force a change but that would be in place of Gabriel Martinelli – who has a goal and an assist from the last two games.
And with Takehiro Tomiyasu expected to remain sidelined, Cedric Soares will have the task of trying to keep, what is expected to be Luis Diaz, quiet on Liverpool’s left.
Possible Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette
3. Is Salah fit?
It was expected to be that Salah was set to miss only his fourth game through an enforced absence due to injury or illness, but Klopp provided a welcome boost on Tuesday.
“It looks like [he will be involved],” is what Klopp told reporters after the swelling and pain in Salah’s knee had subsided to allow him to be available for training.
As for if he is used in the XI remains to be seen with Liverpool having plenty of options if a place on the bench is where the No. 11 starts.
And while Ibrahima Konate is back in the fold, James Milner and Kostas Tsimikas are both sidelined through illness.
4. Possible XI at the Emirates
Much will centre around the decision over Salah, but with more than four days between Liverpool’s games there is not a desperate need to make wholesale changes.
If the Egyptian is given the green light, it’ll be a battle between Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane – but they will both start if Salah misses out on the XI.
In fact, Thiago could be the only addition to the side who won at Brighton after his cameo off the bench, meaning Naby Keita would be the one to step out.
Predicted Reds XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Diaz, Jota
5. We’re all thinking of it…
Klopp was right to stress that you cannot count points before they are in the bank, but this is a huge moment for Liverpool in the title race.
With Man City dropping two points at Selhurst Park, victory at the Emirates would move Liverpool to within just one of Guardiola’s side after 29 games.
With the two to meet after the international break, it presents an invaluable chance to take a commanding position but with our hearts in our mouths, it’s over to the Reds to do the business.
6. Did you know?
That a victory at the Emirates, in the 29th game of the season, would equal the points tally for the entirety of last season!
In 2020/21, Liverpool finished with 69 points to their name in what was a campaign to forget and can now still reach a maximum 96 this time around.
It’s night and day from last season to now and there’s plenty to fight for in the league and beyond. What a time to be a Red!
7. One final after another after another!
Klopp spoke to the press on Tuesday and title talk was centre stage and the boss knows that it is one final after another for his side as they look to remain as “annoying as possible”:
“That is the plan, of course, that we keep being as annoying as possible but we have to win our football games.
“If I sit here and say we win 10 games that doesn’t sound very likely but as long as it is possible, we will give it a proper try I can tell you.
“If you go through the last few years, it never looked different. Not sure how many years in my whole career were where we had not to go with all we had until the last matchday because something was there to grab.
“It is final after final after final after final after final after final that we play. That is how it is.”
8. We can’t go through that again!
With Liverpool on a run of eight wins in a row in the league and Arsenal five, it is the first time in a Premier League match that two sides meet with a respective five-plus game winning streak.
That last time it happened? In April 2009 when Liverpool hosted Arsenal in that mad 4-4 draw which saw Andrey Arshavin go tit for tat with the Reds in a classic.
With a title race well and truly on, not many hearts could take such a match again!
9. Man in the middle
Andre Marriner is the man with the whistle for the fourth time in this fixture, and incredibly all have ended in a draw after 90 minutes.
Two were in the Premier League and the other two as part of League Cup penalty shootouts.
We don’t quite want the same this time around!
10. How to watch!
You can get your nerves and anticipation kickstarted at 7.30pm (GMT) on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League in the UK, ahead of the late 8.15pm kickoff.
But if you fancy an alternative or can’t catch the game live, then Henry Jackson is at the helm of This Is Anfield’s matchday live blog, starting at 7.30pm!