Liverpool face another side from the big six this week after beating Chelsea 2-0 last weekend, this time it is against Arsenal on Monday night at Anfield. It is set to be an incredible tactical battle between managers Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta. Klopp though will unfortunately have to cope without club captain Jordan Henderson as he will be recovering from the injury he picked up against Chelsea.
That is why new signing Thiago Alcantara “is in contention” to start for his full debut. Obviously, there are other reasons why he may potentially start one of them being the fact he is one of the best midfielders in the world and he proved that with his performance against Chelsea.
He was brought on for Henderson and it was time for everyone to see whether he could quickly adjust to the Premier League. There was a stat about Thiago from OptaJoe that answered that saying ‘Since full passing data is available for the Premier League (2003-04), his 75 successful passes are the most by a player who played a maximum of 45 minutes.’ He was simply a delight to watch controlling the game and Liverpool supporters will be hoping that he will do the same against Arsenal if he does start.
Incidentally, Arsenal have been linked with a similar type of midfielder to Thiago. Reports are claiming that the deal is not done at all just yet for Houssem Aouar, but the links are concrete. If The Gunners do sign the Frenchman Premier League viewers will have the pleasure of watching two of the most enjoyable midfielders in world football at the moment throughout this campaign.
Arteta’s Arsenal have, just like Liverpool, had a 100% record in all competitions so far this season and the Spaniard will be doing his most to make sure it is his side that still have it once the 90 minutes are over.
There has been talks of a mental advantage for Arsenal over Liverpool under Arteta due to the last two results. In his press conference Mikel Arteta said: “They are all very different games. The one we played at the Emirates and the final were very different. It will be different again.”
So, Arteta seems to have already forgotten about them games and is looking forward to a different challenge. Klopp and his side shall be looking to right the wrongs from those previous encounters by getting some revenge.
A player who may not get their chance of revenge for Liverpool is centre back Joe Gomez. He missed the Chelsea and Lincoln City games through injury. Klopp said yesterday though that “Joe should be back today in training” therefore meaning that Gomez may have a part to play. However, the game may come too early for him and if that is the case Fabinho will yet again play at centre back alongside Van Dijk.
Supporters were slightly concerned about Fabinho being a makeshift central defender against Chelsea, but the Brazilian eased them concerns by keeping Werner and co quiet. This Monday though will be a tougher opposition in Aubameyang as the Gabonese international is one of the most dangerous players in the division.
In terms of other team news for Liverpool the front three are all fit and ready to play as Roberto Firmino is still waiting for his first goal of the campaign. Alisson, Wijnaldum, Alexander-Arnold and Robertson are the other key players who should be certain to start.
Two players who are definitely not going to be involved for Liverpool are Joel Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Ox has a long-term injury and Matip should be back after the international break.
The midfield is yet again the unpredictable part for fans. Milner was not involved against Lincoln City so he may be in from the start but also Naby Keita will be wanting to start three league games in a row. It shall be interesting to see what Klopp goes for in the middle of the park as it could show his attacking intentions for the game.
Arsenal should have Kieran Tierney returning from injury after he missed their game against West Ham. The North London side do have a lot of defensive absentees though which could see David Luiz return back to the fold playing alongside new signing Gabriel in a back three and we all know Luiz brings the entertainment to the table. But the likelihood is that Rob Holding will be the go-to defender for Arteta.
This fixture always produces magic moments and most importantly lots and lots of goals. It has forever been one of the most anticipated games in the calendar and this time it is no different.
Written by Elliot Thompson