The 2017-18 season starts the same way the previous one ended for Arsenal – with a question mark on manager Arsene Wenger’s future. Two games into the new campaign and the veteran Frenchman is yet to inspire his side to put on a crowd- winning performance.
Against Leicester City, at home for the opener, the London team trailed twice before Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud came up with the equalizer and winner respectively in the last 10 minutes of regulation time. In their next match, they fell by a solitary goal to Stoke City.
To make matters worse, star summer signing Alexandre Lacazette was found wanting in the loss to Stoke. The French striker scored within 94 seconds of his Arsenal debut against the Foxes, and though he had a goal disallowed in the second match of the campaign, he was repeatedly frustrated by the Stoke defence.
The club is waiting with bated breath for Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez to return to the team as they make the trip to Anfield on Sunday. A win against Liverpool would go a long way to restore some faith among the Arsenal faithful, but the Reds has never been an easy side to get past at home.
Wenger’s opposite number Jurgen Klopp is in charge of a team unbeaten after two games, but still looking for a sense of momentum. The Reds have been among the busier Premier League teams, having needed to play Champions League playoff ties against Hoffenheim to complete their return to the elite competition.
They have achieved that aim with aplomb, but in the Premier League, the Reds have made a slow start.
In their opening match of the season, against relegation survivors from last year, Watford, Klopp’s team were held to a 3-3 draw, before scrapping to a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace in the next match, courtesy a Sadio Mane goal.
Klopp’s attention, however, has been divided by off-field activity, since Barcelona has not yet given up hope of snapping up key attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho. For the time being, the injured Brazilian remains a Red, but it is rumoured that the Catalan giants are making one last bid.
Among the players that are firmly in the Liverpool ranks, Senegalese striker Sadio Mane made a good recovery from his injury during the pre-season and has netted in each of his side’s matches – including the winner against Palace.
Even as all eyes will be trained on the possible returns of Coutinho and Sanchez, both Liverpool and Arsenal will be hoping for a win at Anfield to put their campaign into gear.