Arsenal-Liverpool Preview - Sports Illustrated

Arsenal-Liverpool Preview

Jurgen Klopp has lauded Arsenal's Mikel Arteta as an "exceptional" manager as Liverpool look to make it 61 Premier League games unbeaten at Anfield.

Liverpool have won their opening two matches of the Premier League campaign, overcoming Leeds United and Chelsea.

Arsenal, too, have started well, with the FA Cup holders – who defeated Liverpool on penalties in the Community Shield in August and in the league in July – having beat Fulham and West Ham.

The Reds are unbeaten at Anfield since April 2017, but Klopp insists he is not focused on that run as he highlighted Arteta's skill as a manager.

"Mikel showed in a pretty short period of time that he is an exceptional football manager," Klopp told a news conference. The structure of the team is absolutely exceptional. "You can see a lot of things – good organisation, freedom for the players. He's done a pretty impressive job, changed the whole mood in the club. I don't think a lot of people thought he would have won any competition, but he did that. That's pretty impressive. Tough, tough opponent.

"The only moment when I think about that number [60 home games unbeaten] is when somebody asks me about it. I'm absolutely not interested. It's our home. But it's no secret recipe. We never expect to lose, but we don't expect to win. We know we have to work."

Thiago Alcantara came on for his debut in Liverpool's win over Chelsea, completing 75 passes in the second half, and Klopp suggested the playmaker may start on Monday.

The ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich midfielder is a player Arteta is full of admiration for.

"Really like him from my time in Barcelona. A great signing for Liverpool," Arteta told a news conference. "They are getting better and better, have less weaknesses. They are a fantastic side."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Liverpool – Sadio Mane

After Mohamed Salah starred against Leeds, it was Mane's turn to take the impetus against Chelsea. He got off the mark with a double at Stamford Bridge, and his pace and tenacity is sure to cause Arsenal's defence issues.

Arsenal – Alexandre Lacazette

Lacazette has scored four goals in his last six Premier League games, netting in both of his appearances so far this season. He last scored in three consecutive league games back in February 2019.

KEY OPTA FACTS

• Liverpool have won their last four home league games against Arsenal – they have not won more consecutively against the Gunners at Anfield since a run of seven between 1981-1988.

• Arsenal's 2-1 victory over Liverpool back in July was their first win over the Reds in 10 Premier League games. The Gunners are looking to win back-to-back league games against them for the first time since September 2012.

• Since a 1-0 victory over Leicester in April 2017, Arsenal are winless in their last six Premier League games against the reigning champions (0-2-4). However, Arsenal have won each of their last three against Liverpool with the Reds as reigning champions (2-0 in May 1989, 3-0 in December 1990 and 1-0 in March 1991).

• Arsenal are looking to win their opening three games to a Premier League season for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign, when they won their first five.

• In 24 Premier League appearances against Arsenal combined for Liverpool, Roberto Firmino (eight), Mohamed Salah (five) and Mane (five) have netted 67 per cent of the Reds' goals versus the Gunners since August 2015.

• Arteta is looking to become the first Arsenal manager to win on his first away trip to Liverpool in all competitions since Tom Whittaker in December 1947. Nine Gunners managers since then have failed to win their first such visit, with eight of those losing.