Liverpool vs Arsenal Preview: Team News, Classic Encounter, Key Battles & More
Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side play host to rivals Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, in a fixture that has become more synonymous with high scoring contests than possibly any other in the Premier League in recent seasons.
The Anfield club come into to this one on the back of a scintillating 4-2 victory over Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in their Champions League second leg tie on Wednesday evening, and will hope to carry this same form into this marquee tie.
Arsene Wenger's Gunners outfit, meanwhile, come into this on the back of a shock 1-0 defeat to Stoke City last weekend, and will hope to get their campaign back on track in a key clash with a fellow top four, and possibly, title contender.
Arsenal 3 - 4 Liverpool (14/08/16)
The opening day of last season was home to this barnstormer of a game with Liverpool running amok before a depleted Gunners side were able to make the score more respectable later in the game.
Theo Walcott fired in the first goal for the Gunners in the 31st minute, moments after missing a penalty. However, Philippe Coutinho equalised with a brilliant free-kick before Adam Lallana fired in after the break.
Coutinho poked in his second and Sadio Mane slammed home a stunning fourth, before Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a great solo goal and Calum Chambers headed in, to make the final ten minutes interesting.
However, the Reds deservedly held on, and this game very much foreshadowed each team's season thereafter.
Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Alexis Sanchez
18-year-old academy product Alexander-Arnold has been a revelation for Liverpool so far this season, filling in admirably for England international Nathaniel Clyne who is yet to have a concrete return date. Excellent on set pieces and defensively sound, the teen has settled well into first team football.
However, on Sunday he faces the most stern test for any right back in the league, as he comes up against the returning, and rejuvenated, Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean superstar, who is likely to leave the Gunners in the near future, is nonetheless available for selection my manager Arsene Wenger, and could be thrown in from the start at Anfield.
While Adam Lallana, Danny Ings and Nathaniel Clyne remain long term absentees, all of those that were available to Jurgen Klopp at the outset of the season remain so.
Liverpool are, however, still missing the creative talents of Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian's Barcelona related ''back injury'' has kept him out so far this season, although it is expected to clear up on the evening of the transfer deadline.
Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, will be relieved to welcome captain Laurent Koscielny back into the fold - the Frenchman was suspended for his team's opening games of the season following his sending off against Everton in the final game of 2016/17.
Talisman Santi Cazorla remains a long term absentee, with his very career status in question. Beside this, Wenger is able to call upon a full compliment of players, and given the Gunners' huge squad depth, those chosen for the subs bench will be just as interesting as those chosen to start.
In a game that is almost guaranteed to feature multiple goals for both teams, a high scoring draw seems the most likely outcome.
Liverpool's brilliant attacking play caused Arsenal lots of problems last season, and the addition of Salah will only add more pressure. Arsenal, meanwhile, will no doubt be able to take advantage of Liverpool's leaky defence with their patient, possession based brand of football.
The Reds' midweek exploits could lead to issues with fatigue as the game progresses, so if a team were to edge it we'd back the Gunners. However, that being said, a draw is the most likely outcome between two evenly matched, highly entertaining teams.
Score Prediction: Liverpool 2 - 2 Arsenal