ARSENAL VS. LIVERPOOL
| Sunday, January 7th |
FA Cup | Emirates Stadium
4:30PM GMT/11:30AM EST
Mo Salah? More like ‘No Salah’, am I right? Liverpool are playing their first of too many games without their Egyptian talisman, who is off to his home country to prepare for the AFCoN. Along with him is midfielder Wataru Endo, arguably as important a loss, because the new recruit was just beginning to blossom under Jürgen Klopp.
First challenge on the list is taking on Arsenal in the FA Cup third round. After their 1-1 draw at Anfield a few weeks ago, things have been looking up for the Reds while the Gunners have seen their position fall (more’s the pity). Liverpool now sit atop the table while Arsenal are in fourth place.
These things matter very little in the FA Cup though. Both teams will field much-changed starting XIs as they begin this new competition. Playing Arsenal so early in the competition isn’t ideal, but that’s the hand they’ve been dealt, so both teams like have incentive to make it through.
The FA Cup is a great trophy to add to the shelf, and the early stages are a great way for the younger or more fringe players to stretch their legs and get a run out. Liverpool also still remain in the hunt for the Premier League, Europa League, and League Cup, and as such wouldn’t want to throw away the opportunity for a fourth early.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez; Jones, Mac Allister, Gravenberch; Jota, Gakpo, Diaz
In addition to Salah and Endo, Liverpool are also without Dominik Szoboszlai who went off limping against Newcastle. That’s in addition to the already injured Thiago Alcantara, Ben Doak, Kostas Tsimikas, Andrew Robertson, Stefan Bajcetic, and Joel Matip. All of which is to say that Liverpool’s winter break can’t come fast enough.
For Arsenal, they’re without Endo’s Japan teammate Takehiro Tomiyasu and Salah’s Egypt teammate Mohamed Elneny. Thomas Partey, Jurrien Timber, and Fabio Vieira will also definitely miss, while Oleksandr Zinchenko is touch and go.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “But it is probably the most tricky draw you can get and it will be a tough one. The game here was a good one and let’s hope we can show a good performance there as well.”
Mikel Arteta: “We don’t have a choice. If you ask both teams, probably in the draw we were expecting something different, but we have this incredible clash in this round and we have to go for it.”
Referee: John Brooks Assistant referees: Lee Betts & Nick Greenhalgh Fourth official: Josh Smith VAR: Simon Hooper SVAR: David Coote AVAR: Adrian Holmes
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