Liverpool vs Arsenal Preview

English Premier League | Saturday February 8 | Anfield | 14:45





The match of the weekend in the English Premier League sees table toppers Arsenal travel to Anfield to take on fourth place Liverpool.

The two teams met at the Emirates at the beginning of November with Arsenal coming out on top with a 2-0 victory.

Both managers have the firepower to gun each other down, but who will get it right tactically on the day?

To Win (90mins)
Liverpool 11/10 
Draw 5/2 
Arsenal 26/10

LIVERPOOL

Brendan Rodgers was left frustrated as his side missed a chance to tighten their grip on fourth place in the Premier League after failing to beat West Brom last Sunday.

Liverpool were in control but a horrible mistake by Kolo Toure gave West Brom the equaliser as the game ended 1-1.

The Reds will be looking to put Sunday’s disappointment behind them and continue their impressive home record, which has seen them win 10 of their 12 league games at Anfield this season and take 31 points from a possible 36.

The Reds have also scored an impressive 33 goals in these 12 home games, with only free scoring Manchester City (42) scoring more home goals this season.

Rodgers' men will know all about the opposition after suffering a 2-0 defeat in the reverse fixture.

Liverpool’s early season form led to some Kop fans getting carried away and looking at challenging for the title.

However, it now seems that they are in a more realistic position of fourth.

It is vital that the Reds finish in the top four to claim a Champions League spot this season and they will have their work cut out when they meet Arsenal on Saturday.

Liverpool will be relying on Coutinho to be their main source of creativity in midfield and the man they look to provide that killer pass for the lethal duo of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.

He has already shown his intelligence to find pockets of space in between opponents' defence and midfield and is one of few players blessed with the ability to create something out of nothing.

Sturridge has been on fire since returning from injury and already has fourteen goals and three assists to his name in just 17 appearances this season.

With every game, Suarez is proving why Liverpool were so adamant on him staying in the summer and, more recently, signing a new contract.

He has the energy to harrass at defenders for the full 90 minutes, exhausting them into the ground and producing little bits of magic.

Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker will be weary of the threat Suarez and Sturridge poses.

The frightening pair now have a combined 55 Premier League goals this season.

Jordan Henderson meanwhile has arguably been the Reds' most improved player of the 2013/14 season.

He has shown versatility, playing centrally, on the right and left wings and in the hole behind Suarez and Sturridge.

Liverpool still have Daniel Agger, Mamadou Sakho, Jose Enrique, Glen Johnson and Lucas Leiva all unavailable due to injury.

These injuries do however provide others with an opportunity to prove that the side can cope in the absence of key men.

ARSENAL

Arsenal have 55 points from their opening 24 matches this season. This is the third best ever top flight points tally at this stage of the season; they had 58 in 03/04 and 57 in 07/08.

History is on the Gunners' side as they have lost just one of their last 13 clashes with Liverpool, winning five and drawing seven.

Mesut Ozil has played an important role in Arsenal's impressive run of form.

The German has been instrumental in pulling the strings and has given his teammates a huge lift.

The man to look out for will be Santi Cazorla.

The Spaniard is so talented in all aspects of the game that Arsenal have come to depend on him to create many of their chances.

He takes corners and free-kicks and can play a devastating through ball with either foot.

He can also be shifted to the left wing, where, while not nearly as effective as when deployed centrally, he can deliver accurate crosses and drift toward the centre when required.

Olivier Giroud has been one of the first names on the team sheet week in and week out.

The Frenchman has been one of Arsenal's stand-out performers this season and he will be key to he's sides title hopes.

While strikers win matches, it is defenders that win league titles.

Wenger's men have surrendered the fewest goals this term.

Their defensive excellence is the defining feature of their success so far.

Towering centre-back Per Mertesacker continues to make a mockery of his critics.

His obvious lack of pace has yet to undermine the Gunners.

It is also more than compensated for by precision tackling, excellent positional sense and a natural air of authority.

A steady back line has certainly helped those immediately in front and behind it.

For the latter, goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has experienced a career rebirth.

More worryingly for Arsenal, they will be without the services of combative midfielder Mathieu Flamini on Saturday as he misses the second of a three-match suspension following his sending-off at Southampton two weeks ago.

Aaron Ramsey will be out for up to five weeks after suffering a setback in his recovery from a thigh injury.

The Welsh international, who has been a key element of Arsenal's resurgence this season, was injured in training.

Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky is available again following surgery on a broken nose and Jack Wilshere is expected to be fit from an ankle problem.

New Arsenal signing Kim Kallstrom will have to wait until the end of the month before making his debut, the Swedish international faces a spell on the sidelines with a back injury discovered in the medical before completing his loan move from Spartak Moscow.

Betting Prediction: DRAW 5/2
Liverpool have been impressive at home, winning their last three home games. Meanwhile, Arsenal have owned the possession stats and Liverpool will battle to control the game at their home stadium. It will take a lot to beat The Reds on their turf this term, the Gunners will need to be at their best against a tough Reds defence and the prediction calls for neither side to earn a clean sheet and both sides to cancel each other out.

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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