Arsenal faces Anfield curse as they clash with Liverpool in a top-of-the-table showdown
Arsenal are gearing up for a colossal showdown against Liverpool at Anfield in what promises to be a top-of-the-table clash that could reshape the Premier League landscape.
With Mikel Arteta recently celebrating his fourth anniversary as Arsenal manager, the Gunners are eager to extend their one-point lead at the top of the table, but history and the Reds' recent form may pose formidable challenges.
09:12 - 23.12.2023
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Arteta, in his time at the helm, has orchestrated a remarkable transformation at Arsenal, turning them into genuine title contenders.
A victory at Anfield could potentially tip the scales in Arsenal's favor for this season's league title.
However, the ominous specter of Arsenal's woeful record at Anfield looms large, with their last league win there dating back to 2012 when Lukasz Podolski and Santi Cazorla were the heroes in a 2-0 triumph.
In their previous outing, Arsenal secured a 2-0 victory over Brighton at the Emirates Stadium, while Liverpool had to settle for a goalless draw against Manchester United.
14:06 - 22.12.2023
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Virgil van Dijk, a key figure in Liverpool's defense, asserted that the Reds were the only team striving for victory in that match.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, urged the fans to rally behind the team, citing a somewhat subdued atmosphere during recent matches against United and West Ham.
Klopp even went a step further, suggesting that fans who could not attend should relinquish their tickets to ensure a packed stadium.
Liverpool enters the clash on a five-game unbeaten streak in the Premier League, complemented by a resounding 5-1 win over West Ham in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals. With such an imposing track record against Arsenal at Anfield, Klopp's team is oozing confidence.
Arsenal, for their part, boasts four wins from their last five games, with their only defeat coming at the hands of Aston Villa at Villa Park. Notably, Arsenal did manage to conquer Anfield in 2020, ousting Liverpool from the Carabao Cup via penalties.
12:06 - 22.12.2023
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Liverpool will be without several key players for the showdown with Arsenal. Summer signing Alexis Mac Allister is sidelined for the remainder of the year.
Additionally, long-term absentees include defender Andy Robertson, Stefan Bajcetic, and Thiago Alcantara. While Diogo Jota is nearing a return from injury, the Arsenal match might arrive too soon for the forward.
On the Arsenal side, they could potentially miss six players for the Anfield clash. Mohamed Elneny, Jurrien Timber, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Fabio Vieira are all unavailable. Moreover, Jorginho and Thomas Partey are doubtful for the match.
Klopp has emphasized the importance of turning Anfield into a fortress against Arsenal. He urged fans to be the twelfth man and provide unwavering support to lift the team.
10:06 - 22.12.2023
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Quotes from coaches
During his pre-match press conference, Jurgen Klopp humorously remarked, "I love it the most when you are first and 55 points ahead! Then it is a pure joy! But it's all fine – I love it."
Klopp acknowledged the strength of the opponent, saying, "We play a super-strong team; we play a team that played an exceptional last season, and coming back is even better than last season."
Mikel Arteta shared his perspective on Arsenal's style of play: "I don’t know about the handbrake. Hopefully I don’t transmit them to play with the handbrake but when you have 10 players defending in [a space of] 22 meters, you cannot run.
"If you run, you run off the pitch. When [you play] a team that allows you space, that wants to go man-to-man, there are huge spaces opening if you do the right things. Then we can run - and we’re a really dangerous team then as well.
I think the team is clicking because they’re experiencing more and more time together. When you talk about Kai or Declan, they have played more games with us now. They understand certain things much quicker. It’s easy to adapt in games because they get it."
09:02 - 22.12.2023
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When and where to watch
The match will kick off at 9:30 pm and will be live on SuperSport TV.
Liverpool predicted lineup vs Arsenal: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Szoboszlai, Endo, Jones; Salah, Nunez, Diaz.
Arsenal predicted lineup vs Liverpool : Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.