Arsenal vs. Liverpool
| Friday, December 22nd |
Premier League | Emirates Stadium
7:45PM GMT / 2:45PM EST
The midway point of the 2017/18 Premier League season is upon us, as is the holiday season, and what better way to celebrate than by smashing two of the league’s most offensively potent and defensively suspect sides together. Arsenal and Liverpool have combined for a total of 21 goals in the past four meetings between the sides, with the Reds coming out on top in three of them.
For the Gunners, it’s a quick turnaround, as they defeated a hapless West Ham on Tuesday to advance to the
League EFL Carabao Cup semi-finals. The win came at a price, as Olivier Giroud limped off with a hamstring injury ten minutes from time, but Arsene Wenger expertly rotated his squad, and will be able to call on a relatively well-rested team on Friday. Shkodran Mustafi is expected to make his return following a thigh problem, while Aaron Ramsay and Santi Cazorla remain unavailable.
Arsenal sit one point behind Liverpool in fifth place, with eight points from their last five matches, and — thumpings of Huddersfield and BATE Borisov aside — have struggled to put the ball in the back of the net recently, failing to score more than a single goal in seven of their last nine. Given the run their opponents are currently on, one would expect the Gunners have to buck that trend and increase their output if they have any ambitions of keeping all three points tomorrow.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Robertson; Can, Henderson, Coutinho; Mané, Firmino, Salah
No midweek match for the Reds, and when the game kicks off tomorrow night, Jürgen Klopp’s men will have had five days rest for the first time since the November international break, having played nine times in just over a month. Alberto Moreno remains unavailable through injury, but Joël Matip is in contention to start after missing six straight. Emre Can returns from his yellow card suspension and is set to start.
Given Arsenal’s susceptible defense and the incredible run his players are currently on — four straight away wins of more than three goals — it wouldn’t be surprising to see Klopp roll out all of his attacking weapons and try to emulate the result from Anfield in August, when the Reds won by a comfortable 4-0 scoreline.
This is a true six-pointer, and a win here would see the Reds put some distance between themselves and the Londoners, as well as move to within a single point of Chelsea in third, who face a resurgent Everton side on Saturday.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Stephen Child, Adam Nunn
Fourth official: Stuart Attwell
Kickoff is set for 7:45PM GMT/2:45PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.