Arsenal vs Liverpool
| Wednesday, July 15th |
Premier League | Emirates Stadium
8:15PM BST / 3:15PM EST
For the very first time this season, Liverpool drew a game in which they had done more than enough to deserve a win. Sure, it came largely at the hands of a League 1 referee utterly disinterested in penalising blatant fouls both in and outside the area, but dropped points are dropped points nonetheless, and the Reds’ grip on a record points tally is slipping.
Despite their resurgence — in spirit if not results — under Mikel Arteta, though, Arsenal have not beaten tomorrow’s visitors since 2015, and have conceded an average of 3.1 goals per games in the last 10 meetings between the two sides.
The Gunners don’t have much to play for either, sitting in tenth place, with only theoretical possibilities of qualifying for the Europa League, but their offensive firepower ensure that they can not be taken entirely likely, despite the presence of meme lord David Luiz.
Bernd Leno and Mesut Özil remain unavailable through injury, but Arteta will have all the offensive output of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Nicolas Pépé and Dani Ceballos available to him.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Keïta; Mané, Minamino, Salah
For Jürgen Klopp, a competent couple of displays from Neco Williams provides some freedom at the back, but both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are expected to start, after the former was rested at the weekend. Joël Matip remains out for the rest of the season and Dejan Lovren isn’t particularly good anymore, so Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez will start in central defence.
Jordan Henderson is out for the season and James Milner is unlikely to be match fit until the weekend, so options in midfield are somwhat limited, but a trio of Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum and Naby Keïta would not be unexpected. Curtis Jones remains an ace in the hole, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could provide some added dynamism against his former club.
Chasing the result late against Burnley meant that the front three all played a full 90 minutes on Saturday, so a cameo from Takumi Minamino or Divock Origi wouldn’t be a shock, but with the Gunners open to playing vertical football, and looking particularly shaky at the back recently, this could be an opportunity for Roberto Firmino to answer his critics and Mohamed Salah to continue his chase for a Golden Boot threepeat.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “They have more experienced offensive players with massive quality, and then coming up a lot of really, really good ones. So, yes, it looks like Arsenal will be a proper challenger again.”
Mikel Arteta: “What they have done is phenomenal. Financially they had a big backing and made some big signings which completely changed the club in my opinion.”
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistant referees: Dan Cook, Simon Long
Fourth official: Graham Scott
VAR: Craig Pawson, Stephen Child
Kickoff is set for 8:15PM GMT/3:15PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, 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.