Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was in a charming mood for the opposition in his latest press conference. He always seems to know what the right thing to say is and almost likes to butter up the opponent. This time it was Arsenal with Klopp saying they ‘will be a proper challenger again’ even though Mikel Arteta’s side sit in ninth place.
Arsenal’s latest game was also a damning loss to North London rivals Tottenham who were also in a mixed bag of form. So, to say it was a disappointment for The Gunners to get well and truly beaten in the most Jose Mourinho way would be an understatement. It would have been a big statement for Arteta to beat Spurs but he could not pull it off so it will be an even bigger statement if he can get a result against the champions especially as the odds stack against him.
Liverpool will also be looking to bounce back on Wednesday night from a result that none of them wanted. A 1-1 draw against Burnley at home ended the possibility of a 100% winning record at Anfield and also put the points record into doubt.
Andy Robertson was very vocally frustrated at the end of the game using language which is used hundreds of times every game but for once we were able to hear it loud and clear. The Scot was angry because he did not get given a penalty but also probably because Liverpool did not wrap the game up which they realistically should have done.
In an interview for the build up for the Arsenal game Robertson has shown the elite mentality that shines through the squad by stating ‘We want to go there and show why we are champions.’ Liverpool have to win at least two out of their last three games to stand a chance of breaking the points record so Robertson and his team mates will have to be at it from the off against Arsenal to make sure they get the result so they carry that momentum into the last two games and attempt to statistically become the greatest ever Premier League champions.
The team news is more or less the same for Liverpool as there seems to be no new injury concerns for Klopp and his side. James Milner will yet again be unavailable as Klopp said ‘he didn’t train’ but he did reveal that ‘he will be fine for Chelsea’ which will be a lift for the squad as Henderson is out for the season so to have the vice-captain to be back in amongst things will be a relief.
Wanted centre back Dejan Lovren should also be available after missing several games with some reoccurring injuries. In the last few days, several reports from reliable journalists have said that Lovren is likely to leave in the summer with Russian club Zenit said to be one of the clubs strongly interested.
Jurgen Klopp has heaped praise on the Croatian in the latest press conference saying that he is ‘always a reliable player’ and that he has ‘nothing to say about the contract situation’ as there has been rumours that Liverpool are likely to activate the one year extension. Klopp has been unwilling to rotate his centre-backs so far since the restart mainly because he has not had the option but Lovren is available now so we will have to wait and see whether he gets the nod alongside Van Dijk.
Neco Williams and Curtis Jones both started on the weekend but with the magnitude of the game being a ‘big six’ clash the likelihood is that the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita come back in to start. Naby Keita will be wanting to shine against one of the big boys after showing great form since the restart and having a well-earned rest on the weekend.
Arsenal have no new fresh injuries for the game with the likes of Bernd Leno, Callum Chambers, Pablo Mari and Gabriel Martinelli still being out injured. Highest earner Mesut Ozil has been out of favour and also injured at times so therefore will be assessed before the game as Arteta said ‘The situation is still the same as it was.’ Also, Eddie Nketiah is serving his suspension so the young striker will miss out.
FA cup semi-final is on the weekend for Arsenal so Arteta may rotate his side due to having one eye on that game as it may represent the best chance Arsenal have of getting into Europe so The Gunners may be there for the taking.
Even if it is their strongest line-up Liverpool will be looking to feed off the defensive issues Arsenal have had with the likes of David Luiz and Shrokdan Mustafi making suicidal mistakes at times. However, Arsenal’s world class attack will possess a threat so Wednesday night should provide some great entertainment as the champions want to show everyone why they are top of the league and why Arsenal are ninth.
Written by Elliot Thompson