Following Manchester City’s shock draw against Crystal Palace on Monday, if there was any doubt before it is now clear that Liverpool are well and truly back in the title race. Currently just four points back, a win tonight against Arsenal would shrink that to one.
With a game against City still to play, it would put the Reds entirely in control of their own title destiny. A game against Arsenal here now in 2022, though, is no easy matter, with the Gunners in fine form themselves and looking strong favourites to finish top four.
“It’s all finals,” said defensive icon Virgil van Dijk of the challenge facing Liverpool tonight against Arsenal and in the coming weeks. “We all feel it like that as well. They’re all going to be tough games, and the Champions League draw is coming up as well.
“At the weekend we’ve got the FA Cup and now we’ve got a big game against Arsenal, who are in great form as well, so let’s just go for it. Let’s just give everything we have and enjoy it, believe and no matter what happens. Just keep it going and give everything.”
At the start of the season, few would have picked Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal as top four favourites, but the Spanish manager appears to have fully found his footing as the face of the Gunners and has helped coach them towards what seems a resurgance.
They’ve won their last five games, and nine of their last eleven, with the only loss in that stretch a competitive 2-1 defeat at the hands of Man City. Liverpool may be favourites here tonight, but it’s a narrow edge and the Reds will need to be on their game.
“I think Arteta is doing a fantastic job,” Van Dijk added. “He has the confidence from their board and they are definitely building towards something good, I think. They have a clear philosophy and identity and it’s never easy, especially down there.
“We won there in the Carabao Cup but it was very tough. We have to be very ready, intensity-wise as well, and just go for it. We will try everything to win the game and get a good result. Then we will see if that is enough.