On Sunday the 4th of February, the Emirates is set to host a deciding fixture against the current league leaders, Liverpool.
With Liverpool sitting five points clear of the Gunners and both sides victorious in their midweek fixtures, Arsenal are relying on a flawless performance to close down that gap and keep themselves in the title race this season.
Before Arsenal’s Dubai trip, the Gunners had not won in their last four fixtures, however, the trip away seemed to do the team a lot of good. Since their return, Arsenal have won their last two fixtures, with the most recent one being an incredible 2-1 win against Nottingham Forest at the City ground, a ground that crushed Arsenal’s title hopes last season.
Mikel Arteta’s men are well aware of the threat that the Reds pose, having played Liverpool twice in the last two months. In the first fixture, securing a 1-1 draw away at Anfield in December, and just last month, losing out on a place in the FA Cup fourth round after a 2-0 defeat at home.
Former Gunner and current Sky Sports pundit, Paul Merson, spoke on Sky ahead of this weekend’s fixture, referring to it as a “cup final”. Merson spoke about the importance of the fixture, saying that “if they lose to Liverpool then they are out of the title race”.
With this in mind, the Gunners are looking to get their revenge on Jurgen Klopp’s players and make a repeat of Liverpool’s visit to the Emirates last season, in a game that will have the Emirates rocking.
Out: Timber (knee), Partey (thigh).
Tests: Viera (groin).
At tournaments: Tomiyasu (Asian Cup).
Elneny is back in first-team training after returning from AFCON. Egypt, who were one of the favorites to win the tournament, were knocked out by Dr Congo.
Fan favourite, Emile Smith Rowe made his first Arsenal start against Nottingham Forest, since October 2023, replacing Kai Havertz in midfield. After a solid performance, it will be interesting to see whether Arteta feels he deserves the start on the weekend.
Out: Salah (hamstring), Thiago (hip), Bajcetic (fitness), Doak (knee), Matip (knee), Tsimikas (collarbone).
Tests: Nunez (foot).
At tournaments: Endo (Asian Cup).
Dominik Szoboszlai, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Andy Robertson have been welcomed back to the team in recent weeks.
Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Rice, Odegaard, Havertz, Saka, Jesus, Martinelli
Arsenal 2-2 Liverpool
What are the managers saying?
On the improvement since last season, and the importance of Sunday:
“This season, we have beaten big teams already and it’s another opportunity to beat Liverpool now and be in a much better place.
“We talk about momentum; we’ve won the last two games and want to win the third one, especially at home with our people. It’s going to be an incredible atmosphere, and we’re going to need that, so I encourage everybody to do that, to play every single ball with us, and if we do that, we’re going to have a big chance to win the game.”
On what to learn from the previous meetings with Arsenal:
“Will we improve? We will see. What we learn is that we have to be much more dominant in possession. There it was a typical away game. Yes, we had a few problems here and there, that’s true, and it’s a cup game, it’s all about the result, stuff like this. But I think everybody who saw the game knows that Arsenal could have scored before we scored and that could have given the game a completely different direction obviously. But even these kind of games you can win, but I would prefer us to have more moments where we are in charge – as difficult as it is because they are really good.”
How to watch
The match is being shown live in the UK on Sky Sports and Now TV. Kick-off is 16.30 pm.
Notes: Arsenal vs Liverpool
- Arsenal’s biggest win over Liverpool was a 6-0 victory in the First Division back in November 1931.
- In 241 competitive meetings, Liverpool hold the edge over Arsenal, with 95 wins compared to 82 defeats and 64 draws, stretching all the way back to 1893.
- Michael Thomas won the league title for Arsenal at Anfield in 1989 thanks to a stoppage-time winner.