Arsenal vs. Liverpool: 10 key things to know as latest FA Cup journey begins

For the sixth time in the last seven seasons, Liverpool face a Premier League side in the third round of the FA Cup, this time it takes them away to Arsenal.

Arsenal vs. Liverpool

FA Cup Third Round | Emirates Stadium
January 7, 2023 | 4.30pm (GMT)

After strangling Newcastle into submission on New Year’s Day, Liverpool’s Premier League campaign has been put on hold as they turn their attention to domestic cup action.

Arsenal await as the FA Cup campaign commences for the Reds, but the two teams may have contrasting approaches to the tie.

Here are 10 key things to know ahead of Sunday’s kickoff at the Emirates.


1. Szoboszlai “no chance” for tie

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 23, 2023: Liverpool's Dominik Szoboszlai during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After respective departures to represent their countries following the win at New Year, neither Mohamed Salah or Wataru Endo are available for this tie.

As for Dominik Szoboszlai, who strained his hamstring against Newcastle, the midfielder has “no chance” for this fixture nor the League Cup semi-final first leg on Wednesday.

“Dom is very positive, doesn’t have a lot of pain, but we have to wait a little bit,” Klopp explained.

Owen Beck is unavailable due to having to serve a one-match suspension he carried over from his loan at Dundee.

Thankfully, there are no other new fitness concerns, but the Reds’ senior absences now extend to 10.


2. One has a long break after, the other does not

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 23, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) and Arsenal's manager Mikel Arteta during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The approach of the two teams could significantly differ due to Liverpool playing again only three days after this tie, while Arsenal are not back in action until January 20.

Klopp’s side have a League Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield to consider on Wednesday, which will come into the manager’s thinking as he selects who to start and who to rest.

Arsenal can, therefore, field their strongest possible XI as their winter break immediately follows full-time – it gives the Reds plenty food for thought as to their priorities, and Klopp has hinted mass rotation may not be on the cards.


3. Cup permutations

The FA Cup semi-finals are due to take place at Wembley next month (Nick Potts/PA)

As replays are still a part of the competition, Liverpool will add another match to their calendar and host the Gunners if this match ends in a draw after 90 minutes.

The third round replays are to take place in the week commencing January 15, which is during the Reds’ winter break – history tells us Klopp wouldn’t be happy with that!

If Liverpool do progress to the fourth round, that tie will take place on the weekend of January 27 – days after the League Cup semi-final second leg at Fulham, and before Chelsea‘s league visit.

The fourth round draw will take place on Monday evening, prior to Man United‘s match at Wigan.


4. A Gunner in doubt & why no red for Arsenal

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 23, 2023: Arsenal's Bukayo Saka looks towards the referee as he escapes a second yellow card during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Much like Liverpool, Arsenal will be without Takehiro Tomiyasu (Asian Cup) and Mohamed Elneny (AFCON) for the foreseeable future due to international commitments.

As for injuries, Mikel Arteta said Oleksandr Zinchenko (calf) still needs to be ‘evaluated’ to see “if he’s ready to start the game.”

Thomas Partey (thigh), Jurrien Timber (ACL) and Fabio Vieira (groin), meanwhile, are long-term absentees.

It is also pertinent to mention that Arsenal will not be wearing their traditional red and white home kit for this match, instead sporting an all-white strip to promote the club’s ‘No More Red’ campaign against knife crime.

Possible Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli


5. Yet another top-flight team

This is the sixth time in the last seven seasons that the Reds have been drawn to face a Premier League side in the third round of this competition.

The last time they got someone from a lower division they went on to win the competition – so, if you’re into omens, this is not a kind one!

However, Klopp’s side have handled topflight opposition well as Liverpool have progressed to the fourth round seven times in the last eight seasons.


6. Travel information: Train strikes

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 3, 2008: A giant spider dangles from Concourse Tower near Lime Street Station in Liverpool. The massive 50ft spider, weighing 37-tonnes, is the creation of La Machine, a French based industrial design company. The event is part of Liverpool's European Capital of Culture 2008 celebrations. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If you’re making your way to the Emirates, your journey back from the ground may be made more difficult by train strikes – primarily hitting the Tube services.

Services are not expected to be disrupted before kick-off, but they will be reduced from 5pm. Supporters who want to travel back on the London Underground are advised to complete their journey by 8pm.

For more information on the strikes and how to best plan your journey, visit Transport For London here.


7. Full strength or time to rotate?

Jurgen Klopp, profile, silhouette (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With options limited when it comes to senior players, Klopp hinted in his pre-match press conference that mass rotation might not be possible.

“I’m not sure if Arsenal now is a game to rotate. I sit here I’m not 100 percent if we have the opportunity to do so, to be honest,” the manager said.

With that in mind, there is a real possibility we will see the strongest possible XI when the teamsheet is released an hour before kick-off.

Though, Klopp is not shy in throwing a curveball, so we will just have to wait and see how he approaches this one.

Possible Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez; Mac Allister, Jones, Gravenberch; Elliott, Jota, Nunez


8. We’ve had fun here before

LONDON, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 20, 2022: Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the second goal goal during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Different cup competition, yes, but the memories are still vivid nearly two years on.

A Diogo Jota goal in either half, Trent Alexander-Arnold assisting both, and a place in the League Cup final secured – what a night it was!

Same again on Sunday and with the same final result later in the season? We won’t say no to that!


9. Brooks with the whistle

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 27, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez speaks with referee John Brooks during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St James' Park. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In a surprise to no one, Liverpool have had previous with the referee for this match, John Brooks.

He was the one to show the red card to Virgil van Dijk at Newcastle earlier this season, but it is away from Reds matches that has seen Brooks hit the headlines after errors as the lead VAR.

Perhaps we ought to be thankful he is the on-field referee for this one then!

Although, Simon Hooper is on VAR duty – in case you forgot, he was the referee during that Tottenham match…


10. How to follow the match live with us!

Emirates Stadium General Outside. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s trip to Arsenal will be shown live in the UK on BBC One, which is also available on BBC iPlayer – coverage starts at 4pm (GMT).

But if you fancy some biased commentary then This Is Anfield‘s matchday live blog is the place to be, we’ll be keeping you informed and entertained from 3.45pm.

Up the Reds!