LIVERPOOL VS. ARSENAL
| Saturday, November 20th |
Premier League | Anfield
5:30PM GMT/10:30AM EST
Arsenal are a young and exciting team all of the sudden, looking promising again after a period of malaise that seemed to be suggesting an end to Mikel Arteta’s time at the club.
Instead, there’s a sense of optimism at the club currently, even if the side has yet to pass a test as tough as a Liverpool side on their game. Arteta’s plan worked well against Leicester, where they won 2-0 away before their 1-0 win at home against Watford last time out. Arteta has shown himself to be more prepared than he has been in the recent past, and we should expect Arsenal to have a coherent plan of attack against Liverpool.
The youth of the squad also means that this Arsenal side might be less scarred by the big beatings the club has received at Anfield in recent times — a good thing in Arsenal’s point of view. The fans should be up for it: a redemption after the poor showing at West Ham, and a winter game against a big club under the lights (since it is winter, after all, and the sun’s down by the late afternoon).
Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka are standout players, and will look to cause Liverpool some problems. Liverpool’s midfield, whoever they are, will need to keep Thomas Partey quiet — though Partey did come home early from international duty, though Arteta stopped short of calling him a doubt for the weekend.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thiago; Salah, Jota, Mané
We’re post-international break, so, as usual, have new injury concerns provided kindly by the international squads. Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson have returned to Liverpool with injuries, and are in doubt for tomorrow’s match. The decision on these two will be “a late, late, late, late decision” per the manager, as they have been unable to train thus far.
James Milner and Naby Keïta should be close to return, but will likely join Curtis Jones, Joe Gomez, and Roberto Firmino on the sidelines with (relatively) short-term injuries to return from. Harvey Elliot, while he continues his recovery, also remains sidelined.
While Kostas Tsimikas seems an easy solution to give Andy Robertson some time to recover, but the midfield continues to be a problem for Jürgen Klopp — in his pre-match press conference, he called it his “midfield disease.”
While the choices are slim assuming Henderson is unable to go again, it’s likely that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be given a chance to impress, which could lead to a very attacking-style midfield with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago anchored by Fabinho.
The hope is that Henderson will be fit for some minutes, as the senior midfield bench will be empty as it stands — though Taki Minamino has experience in the midfield, albeit not for Liverpool, really. It’s been some time since we’ve changed shape, but that sort of tinkering is also possible as an approach to this issue.
Given the midfield issues, it’s a shame that Roberto Firmino has picked up an injury as well given that his industrious defensive work would be useful to assist a midfield lacking in reinforcements. On the other hand, however, Klopp’s “midfield disease” does give squad players the chance to shine.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “They train pretty much through all [the break], because the [international team] coaches want to have their own targets or agenda, and very often think that they have to do physical work as well. So no, I don’t like it. It was not helpful. I would have loved to play the weekend after [West Ham].”
Other Manager: “[Anfield] is always a test, it is a fascinating stadium to play football in. You have to be at your best, and raise the level to your maximum standards, emotionally, physically, tactically, because if you don’t you will be exposed.”
Referee: Michael Oliver Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett Fourth Official: Andy Madley VAR: Chris Kavanagh Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis
Kickoff is set for 5:30PM GMT/10:30 AM EST tomorrow. In the meantime, The Liverpool Offside team will keep you updated with all of the team news and match buildup as it becomes available, along with providing a matchday liveblog and post-match recaps and reaction. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account and have your say on the action as it happens.