Jürgen Klopp has turned Liverpool into an unpredictable side. Sometimes, of course, that unpredictability is frustrating when it leans so agonizingly towards unexpected mediocrity. But the team more often spins it’s opponents heads around with new and interesting fun and ends up with those comprehensive 4-0 wins. Which version will we see against Arsenal today? Well, we just don’t know and it’s all so terrifyingly exciting.
But, the real thing is that Arsene Wenger has no idea yet how Klopp is intending to spin his Gunners’ heads around. The Frenchman has some idea about the fluidity of Liverpool’s attack. He’s seen Mohamed Salah being amazing this season. He’s seen Philippe Coutinho’s magic on the pitch. He knows if Roberto Firmino scores, the Brazilian will perform a celebration of such eccentric artistry as to bewitch the Arsenal players, luring them into a state of quiet reflection for the remainder of the match. But, if Klopp is right, Wenger will tinker with his preferred tactics in an effort to combat what he believes will be Liverpool’s preferred attack.
“Apart from City, everybody changes against us,” said Klopp. “It was always like this.
“When we played City, they played their football against ours. It was always a close game with them. The last one was the first that wasn’t and there was a good reason for that with the red card.
“All the other teams change, always.”
Still, expect an open game at The Emirates. Their will be much football on display between the two sides and Arsenal shouldn’t be taken for granted as a team who will just roll over. Alexis Sánchez seems to have stopped being so exasperated with his teammates on the pitch. Mezut Özil has done his very-cool, sucking-thumb celebration more and more lately so that’s probably something to consider.
“Arsenal are not a parking the bus or a long-ball playing team,” Klopp said. “They are complex. We know how they play in the half-spaces and Sanchez and Ozil are in good moments. That’s difficult to defend. Wilshere is back on track, Xhaka’s shots from distance, wing backs or full backs on the run.
“I like that. There’s a real job to do. The preparation is clear, you close one gap and, wow, another one opens.
“We have to be ready for this, to be prepared and to be fit, because without exceptional distance covering there is not chance to play a game like this at the end of December. That’s the challenge for both teams.
“It will be exciting and I would buy a ticket if I was not there already.”
Yes, terrifyingly exciting.