Two games, six points.
The season has started just how Arsenal could’ve hoped for. Sure, the win over West Ham was far from convincing, but the points were won and, at the end of the day, that’s the most important.
On Monday, however, comes the Gunners’ biggest test. Arguably, it’s the toughest fixture in the calendar. Anfield has been a pretty depressing ground for the club in recent years, with some hefty hammerings coming by the way of (all) the visitors.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have enjoyed a 100% start to the league too, so someone’s record is getting put to an end. You’d be hard pressed to stake a claim for that to be Arsenal, although rarely have we ever seen the side head into an away day in the red half of Merseyside in better condition. There are injuries, but as a unit Arsenal haven’t looked this strong for a long time.
Here’s your preview of Monday’s clash.
How to Watch on TV
When Is Kick Off? Monday 28th September
What Time Is Kick Off? 20:00 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Anfield
TV Channel/Live Stream? fuboTV (US)
Referee? Craig Pawson
Arsenal will be hoping to have Kieran Tierney back for the trip north, with the Scotsman being a late withdrawal from the West Ham game with a minor hip problem. Central defenders Shkodran Mustafi, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers remain unavailable.
Gabriel Magalhaes sat out of the Carabao Cup win, so he’s expected to come straight back into the starting XI on Monday. He could partner David Luiz for the first time.
Cedric was not included for the Leicester game with a calf issue, but he is due to return to the squad, with Emile Smith Rowe expected to be back for the following fixture.
Gabriel Martinelli is still some way off returning to the fold.
For Liverpool, Jordan Henderson has not recovered in time to play Arsenal while Joel Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also not feature.
This means we could (unfortunately) see Thiago Alcantara start his first Premier League match, a proposition it’s fair to say no Arsenal fan looks forward to.
Joe Gomez is in line to return having resumed training on Friday, and could line up alongside Virgil van Dijk in the heart of defence.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Arsenal: Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Luiz, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ceballos, Tierney; Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang
As far as starts to the season go, it’s been pretty much perfect for both sides. In Arsenal’s case, they beat the same opponents just four fixtures ago, with a penalty shootout victory at Wembley to lift the Community Shield following a 1-1 draw.
A comfortable win over Fulham on the opening day was followed up by a narrow one over West Ham. Alexandre Lacazette got the ball rolling on the night, only to be pegged back by Michail Antonio’s close range winner.
It took until five minutes from time for the Gunners to secure the points, with Eddie Nketiah prodding home from Dani Ceballos‘ neat cut back.
The young English striker netted again in midweek, as he fired home another poacher’s goal to secure passage into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. A Christian Fuchs own goal had put the visitors in front earlier in the half.
Regarding the home side on Monday, they’ve been at their usual devastating selves. They wiped the floor with Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup, hitting seven goals past the League One side to easily earn their spot in the next round of the competition with a 7-2 win.
Their league form has been in good shape too, as they won their opening day clash against Leeds in a mad-cap 4-3 win, then followed it up with a 2-0 victory away at ten-man Chelsea.
Here is how each side has fared in their last five fixtures.
Lincoln 2-7 Liverpool (24/09)
Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool (20/09)
Liverpool 4-3 Leeds (12/09)
Liverpool 7-2 Blackpool (05/09)
Arsenal 1(5)-1(4) Liverpool (29/08)
Leicester 0-2 Arsenal (23/09)
Arsenal 2-1 West Ham (19/09)
Fulham 0-3 Arsenal (12/09)
Arsenal 1(5)-1(4) Liverpool (29/08)
MK Dons 1-4 Arsenal (25/08)
This is an Arsenal side beaming with confidence at the moment, but you’re a brave man to predict any team going to Anfield and leaving with a positive result.
There is no denying that the Gunners are short in a few areas of the pitch, but apart from a few needed signings, they couldn’t really be in better shape for Monday. With a nice long break between their Premier League fixtures, the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lacazette will be well rested for an intense match.
As seen from the opening weekend, despite boasting superb defenders, there are issues in Liverpool’s defence that can be exploited. Their high line is there to be got at. For that, Nicolas Pepe would be the ideal choice, although given he started against Leicester, it could be Willian who gets the nod.
There will be moments for Arteta’s side. Chances will come and it’s all about taking them because it’s almost impossible to imagine Liverpool not scoring.
Sadio Mane continues to excel and cement his place as the left-winger in world football, while the addition of Thiago is just….well, not fair. Arguably the most aesthetically pleasing footballer on the planet joining the Premier League champions. Stop it, Liverpool.
As hopeful as we can be, I just can’t see past the home side. Of course, Arsenal have got the better of them in both of the last two meetings, but Anfield is a different kettle of fish.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Arsenal