Liverpool - Arsenal Preview: Goalless Gunners look to ignite campaign against impressive Reds
Brendan Rodgers' men secured a hard-fought draw against champions Manchester City in their last outing and face opponents who have yet to score a goal this term
By James Burford
Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
Sahin, Gerrard, Allen
Downing, Suarez, Sterling
Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
Cazorla, Arteta, Diaby
Gervinho, Giroud, Podolski
Nuri Sahin is set to make his Liverpool debut in the heart of midfield after Lucas (thigh) was ruled out for up to three months after hobbling off in the opening stages of the 2-2 draw with Manchester City.
Daniel Agger is likely to return from suspension to replace Sebastian Coates in defence but youngster Raheem Sterling is poised to make another start having impressed against Roberto Mancini's side last time out.
For Arsenal, Vito Mannone could continue to deputise in goal with Wojciech Szczesny and Lukas Fabianski both still struggling for match fitness.
Bacary Sagna's long-term leg injury means Carl Jenkinson will again step in at right-back, with the France defender set to return to training after the upcoming international break. Fellow international team-mate Laurent Koscielny (calf) faces a late fitness test.
The continuing transfer speculation surrounding Theo Walcott could mean that Gervinho will again feature from the start, in support of Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, while Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain should appear from the bench.
Jack Wilshere (ankle), Emmanuel Frimpong (knee) and Tomas Rosicky (thigh) all remain long-term absentees.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Liverpool have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games against Arsenal.
- New signing Joe Allen (pictured, right) has an 85 per cent passing accuracy in the attacking half of the pitch, alongside a 100% passing accuracy in the defensive half.
- Liverpool have picked up just 19 points from 21 Premier League games during 2012.
- Only Arsenal (19%) have a worse shooting accuracy than Liverpool in the Premier League this season (24%).
- There have been seven 90th minute or later goals scored in the last seven Premier League games between Liverpool and Arsenal, and five in the last four.
- Liverpool v Arsenal at Anfield has seen the joint-most own goals of any fixture in Premier League history with four.
- Arsenal have allowed the joint-fewest shots on target against them this season.
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Top 3 Predictions
Liverpool 2-0 Arsenal FC
- 15.33 %
Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal FC
- 14.4 %
Liverpool 2-1 Arsenal FC
- 10.49 %
|Premier League (EPL)||2 Nov 2013||Arsenal FC 2 - Liverpool 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||30 Jan 2013||Arsenal FC 2 - Liverpool 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||2 Sep 2012||Liverpool 0 - Arsenal FC 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||3 Mar 2012||Liverpool 1 - Arsenal FC 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||20 Aug 2011||Arsenal FC 0 - Liverpool 2|
|15 Dec 2013||Tottenham 0 - Liverpool 5||EPL|
|7 Dec 2013||Liverpool 4 - West Ham 1||EPL|
|4 Dec 2013||Liverpool 5 - Norwich City 1||EPL|
|1 Dec 2013||Hull City 3 - Liverpool 1||EPL|
|23 Nov 2013||Everton 3 - Liverpool 3||EPL|
Arsenal's lack of cutting edge thus far has been clear, but so has their stern defence after keeping two clean sheets in a row. However, this resilience will be tested to a higher degree in this fixture, though, with the likes of Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard to contend with.
Liverpool looked dominant for much of the game against Manchester City in a real source of optimism for the Rodgers regime, and a repeat performance is not out of the question. The Reds only had themselves to blame for not picking up three points last weekend, and they should learn from their mistakes in a narrow victory.